Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

From Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA
My friend Matt, who handles music for chapel worship at EMS, sent me a last-minute request this morning to help out on a few songs. Happily agreeing, I walked into Martin Chapel 30 minutes before worship having never heard two of the three songs. The one song I'd like to share here is called "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree," whose lyrics are attributed to an unknown 18th century New Englander (thx, Wikipedia; though my prof said 17th century). Anyway, the arrangement we used in worship, and the one used for the video below is by Elizabeth Poston, a 20th century British composer. The video below is a performance in the 90s by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. Check it out...

After the break you'll find the lyrics, which are as beautiful as the music, and theologically vivid and rich. Because of the echo in the recording, it is helpful to look at them. Give the song a few plays, both watching the video but also going over the lyrics as they're sung. Ethereal and moving...
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell,
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

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