16 abril, 2006

Pálmadár, that is Phoenix Resurrected Once More

Hey, today it is George Sajo to share with you some new and exotic additions to his “Phoenix on the Top of the Palm Tree. Multiple Interpretations of Job 29:18”, published in our Silva.

Sunday, April 16th, Easter day. In the Early Church, this was the night when cathecumens after long time preparations got baptized and thus became full members of the Church. This tradition is still practised in many Christian congregations, just like in that little Lutheran church where I was invited by the family of my wife to celebrate the baptism of a newborn family member. It was impressing to find this little Danish countryside church totally filled with people waiting for the celebration of the Resurrection, and to see that there were not less than three newborn children that were to receive the baptism on this very day.

Being a Catholic, it is always a special experience for me to attend the Lutheran service which I mostly do in connection with celebrating landmark events in my wife's Lutheran family. My senses are sharpened while experiencing the different liturgy, different sermons, different hymns. While the Catholic and the Lutheran church in Denmark share many of their church hymns, I always learn some new ones under these Protestant services. Just like today, when we sung a for me unknown Easter hymn, “Tag det sorte kors fra graven” (Take the black cross from the grave). It was written by one of the most famous Danish theologs and hymn writers, Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872).

And here comes the point, which made me write this short addition to Silva. While singing the first verse, I was astonished to stumble upon an old acquaintance, but in a completely new attire which I have never seen before. The second last line of the verse says in the form of a single acclamation:

“Palmefugl for askekrukke!”

...meaning: “Palm bird for ashes' urn!” And for setting any doubts to rest, the hymn book explains in a footnote that “palm bird” is identical with the phoenix bird that resurrects from his own ashes.

Well, this is one of the most concise and creative solutions of the old “palm tree or phoenix bird” problem which I have encountered to this date.

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