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Hymn History: "Come Join the Dance of Trinity"



A continuation from last week’s blog post. Since this past Sunday was Trinity Sunday, I felt it appropriate to follow up with the history of a hymn that follows right along in the same theme.

 

The text of “Come Join the Dance of Trinity” was written by Richard Leach for Trinity Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut for their church’s 250th anniversary hymn search in 2002 and was the winning entry. Since then, it has appeared in a number of hymnals, most often paired with the tune Kingsfold, which is the tune used in the video above.

 

Leach was inspired by other songs that draw on the dancing metaphor for the perichoresis, such as “Lord of the Dance” and a traditional English carol called “Tomorrow Will be My Dancing Day.” A rather appropriately circuitous matter on inspiration as the writer of “Lord of the Dance,” Sydney Carter, herself was also inspired by “Tomorrow Will be My Dancing Day.” It’s a new carol to me, but perhaps I’ll do a deep dive into it one day as it appears to be a rather fascinating song!

 

When speaking of his hymn writing, Leach has said that he wishes to write texts that are “biblically and theologically sound,” which he accomplishes well in this hymn. The text invites the singer to be active in the Trinity with various calls to action: “Come, join the dance,” “Come, see the face,” “Come, speak aloud.”

 

Each of the first three verses addresses each part of the Trinity. Verse one speaks of the Father, the Creator, the originator of the dance. The second verse is the life of Jesus, and denotes the “the Trinity is meant for human flesh and bone,” reminding us that the dance isn’t only for the divine, but for us as well. The third verse is for the Spirit, referencing Pentecost and spreading the word.

 

The final verse starts with “Within the dance.” We have moved past being invited to the dance, we are now within it. The interweaving nature of the dance of the Trinity including us, making this hymn as very active one, and more than the words on the page. It’s a lovely hymn to remember at any time, but especially around Trinity Sunday, to remember that we are part of the divine, as much as they are a part of us.



Lyrics

Come, join the dance of Trinity

Before all worlds begun

The interweaving of the Three

The Father, Spirit, Son

The universe of space and time

Did not arise by chance

But as the Three, in love and hope

Made room within their dance


Come, see the face of Trinity

Newborn in Bethlehem

Then bloodied by a crown of thorns

Outside Jerusalem

The dance of Trinity is meant

For human flesh and bone

When fear confines the dance in death

God rolls away the stone


Come, speak aloud of Trinity

As wind and tongues of flame

Set people free at Pentecost

To tell the Savior′s name

We know the yoke of sin and death

Our necks have worn it smooth

Go tell the world of weight and woe

That we are free to move!


Within the dance of Trinity

Before all worlds begun

We sing the praises of the Three

The Father, Spirit, Son

Let voices rise and interweave

By love and hope set free

To shape in song this joy, this life

The dance of Trinity

Sources


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