The Hymns We Sing

The Hymns We Sing

Hymn #196
Title: When Twilight Comes (Ngayong nagdadapit hapon)
Author: Moises B. Andrade (1948-2009)
Translation: James Minchin (b. 1942)

In the image of a mother hen taking her brood under her wings, this evening hymn from the Philippines connects farmyard experience and Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem.

This text that begins with observation about the sheltering habits of a mother hen is drawn from nature, but is also resonates with Scripture. In his final week of teaching in Jerusalem, Jesus laments, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often I have desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37//Luke 13:34).

The application of the hen image to Jesus as the Last Supper in stanza 2 strikes a happy balance between the Synoptic [Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke] tradition of a reinterpreted Passover meal and the Johannine [Gospel of John] tradition of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet. Both these narratives are comprehended in “his last meal” (2.2), “he spent himself” (2.4), and “his servant care” (2.7).

The third stanza applies the hen imagery to community and to Trinity, which is an appropriate pairing, since the Trinity is the ultimate model of life in community.

Francisco F. Feliciano, who composed the hymn tune [DAPIT HAPON], described the tune as being like a bird jumping from branch to branch.

-From Glory to God: A Companion by Carl P Daw, Jr.

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