Sunday, December 13, 2015


Today, Gaudete Sunday, a day when Christians are urged to rejoice, it is fitting to recall the carol, TOMORROW SHALL BE MY DANCING DAY.

Anonymous and very old, this unusual carol tells the story of the Saviour’s life in his own voice, using the image of a dance. There has always been a link between religion and dance, but the imagery here is mystical. The words “to see the legend of my play” may indicate that this was a danced song preceding the performance of a Mystery Cycle.

God Unknowable, God Transcendent, chose – for love – to become also God Immanent, Emmanuel (God is with us) visibly for a space, and then mystically in the Blessed Sacrament, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Who is Jesus’ “true love”? It might be the individual soul, or equally aptly the community (ecclesia) of souls.

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;
Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance.

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Between an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance.

Then afterwards baptized I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard I from above,
To call my true love to my dance.

Into the desert I was led,
Where I fasted without substance;
The Devil bade me make stones my bread,
To have me break my true love's dance.

The Jews on me they made great suit,
And with me made great variance,
Because they loved darkness rather than light,
To call my true love to my dance.

For thirty pence Judas me sold,
His covetousness for to advance:
Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold!
The same is he shall lead the dance.

Before Pilate the Jews me brought,
Where Barabbas had deliverance;
They scourged me and set me at nought,
Judged me to die to lead the dance.

Then on the cross hanged I was,
Where a spear my heart did glance;
There issued forth both water and blood,
To call my true love to my dance.

Then down to hell I took my way
For my true love's deliverance,
And rose again on the third day,
Up to my true love and the dance.

Then up to heaven I did ascend,
Where now I dwell in sure substance
On the right hand of God, that man
May come unto the general dance.

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