Lyrics by Marian Partee
Music by Christina Whitten Thomas
Seraphim Singers in Boston commissioned and premiered this piece. The premiere was broadcast on WMDR Cambridge. KC VITAS Chamber Choir in Kansas City performed the piece, and Seraphim Singers presented it again last November.
Listen to the piece performed by the Seraphim Singers of Boston with Jennifer Lester, conductor:
Beyond the river
He has sent his blood, his joy.
They spin smooth dreams
Inside their tents.
Alone, he sees the sun surrender to the darkness.
The wind sweeps dust across his face.
He trembles at the thought of daybreak
Where the firstborn waits.
From birth, he has wrestled,
Grasping at his brother’s heel,
Stealing birthright and blessing.
He fled into exile,
Married into strife,
Wives, servants, sons
With hands at one another’s throats.
Once again he has approached the brink of Canaan,
Unworthy of the Promised Land.
A deceiver due nothing
But a brother’s vengeance.
A shadow draws near…
Not the firstborn,
But a foe he must overcome,
One who could take all he has stolen.
Skin and sinew,
Breath and bone
Pound the dust
Hour after hour.
The moon retreats.
Clouds enshroud the stars.
Fresh fear seeps into his soul.
This is no man.
This is the shaper of worlds,
Sustainer of life,
Builder of nations,
Maker of destiny,
Giver of covenants, curses, blessings.
Though he knows he should be cursed,
He will not yield without a blessing.
Why did he contend with men
When their hands did not hold his fate?
This is the One who numbers his days
And carves his path.
With one touch,
He is lame
Yet he has won the blessing
And a name:
No longer Jacob,
He stumbles toward the sunrise.
Though his flesh wound remains
A deeper wound is healed.
The deceiver is beloved.