Sunday we closed worship with Hymn # 1 in Singing the Living Tradition, “May Nothing Evil Cross Your Door.” It’s been stuck in my head ever since.
If I had the hymnal with me, I’d be able to tell you who wrote it, instead, I Googled. It originated as “House Prayer” by Louis Untermeyer. It’s a lovely, haunting song, and yet …
Here are the words:
May nothing evil cross this door,
and may ill-fortune never pry about
these windows; may the roar and rains go by.
Strengthened by faith,
the rafters will withstand
the battering of the storm.
though all the world grow chill
will keep you warm.
Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
touching your lips with holy wine,
till every casual corner blooms into a shrine.
Laughter shall drown the raucous shout
and, though the sheltering walls are thin,
may they be strong to keep hate out and hold love in.
It’s the last line that’s getting me. As a house prayer, just lovely. As a UU Hymn … maybe not. I’m not one who likes messing with lyrics of the old traditional hymns, but the problem I see in our small congregation is not so much the holding love in as it is taking the love outside “the house.” Is this what we wish to do in our congregations? Hold Love in? As if it could/should be contained.
No answers to this. Just pondering. Like I said, the song’s been haunting me this week. May it haunt you, too.