For the past several weeks, the Old Testament liturgy at church has focused on the fascinating life of Israel’s King David. From the slaying of Goliath to David’s unlikely ascension to the throne, to Samuel’s detailing of David’s relationship with Bathsheba (with details that caused our rector to recount the reaction of one young parishioner in her previous church as: OMG Samuel TMI!). All have shown David at his most human.
Today’s passage was about the rebellion and death of Absalom, David’s son. It ends with the grief-stricken king’s lament found in 2 Samuel 18:33:
And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Do yourself a favor and spend five minutes listening to the Thomas Tomkins version of When David Heard. It is one of the most beautiful, most heart-rendering pieces imaginable. I sang this piece with a group of wonderful singers a number of years ago, and as soon as those words were read today, it all flooded back into my head.
More to come…