Sunday, May 06, 2012

Since Jesus Crossed What River?

Death's flood has lost its chill
since Jesus crossed the river.
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver.  (LSB 482)

A choir director or a pastor or somebody told me once that this was an allusion to the river Styx.  Greek mythology.  The place of the dead.  Charon ferrying the dead person across.


But this year it crossed my mind that many aspects of mythology have roots in the truth.  Sure, the truth was twisted, sometimes almost beyond recognition.  In this case, the truth is that Canaan was the Promised Land to which God was leading the children of Israel.  And Canaan is a type of the promised land.   As the Israelites were baptized in the crossing of the Red Sea and then spent decades on their pilgrimage, so we are baptized into Christ and then spend our lives on a pilgrimage.  They crossed the Jordan River into the promised land.  We cross from our earthly pilgrim life into the promised land of heaven.  Maybe the Jordan is where the myth of the Styx came from.

So maybe the hymn isn't alluding to the Styx, but maybe the story of the Styx found its beginning in God's story.

1 comment:

  1. As do ALL stories. We keep getting bombarded from everywhere that Christianity somehow started when Jesus was bodily on earth. The Gospel began @ Gen 3:15. And the Gospel is the story of Jesus death and resurrection for all.