We sat down by the River of Dust and made a new song
In praise of our Lord the Innkeeper whose wine is sweet and strong.
We have been taken into captivity, and we rejoice—
For in bondage we are free and in chains we have found our true voice.
When we came here first we planted a seed of poverty;
And now, watered with our tears, it has become a new knowledge-tree.
Our Master said to us, Sing me a song of the olden days.
And we ordered the stars to repeat their first shout of praise.
After a night of wine and song, when the morning came
The rising sun kissed the hills and they burst into flame.
These wonders, by his compassion, when in no way has our worth been proved
And we have not yet even begun to love him as he should be loved!
The laws which Moses brought down were lees from the cask of this one
Whose wine keeps us captive by the waters of a new Babylon.
A song of exile which embraces with joy that exile is our state. There is no clinging on to a Promised Land in this world. We are not just fugitive helpless refugees.
This is a song springing out of the new covenant established by the new Advent.
Our song not by the rivers of Babylon but by the river of dust. Our captivity is not to an earthly conqueror or at a distant place but is the true captivity to the Master.
The seed of poverty was our discovery of our own nothingness. The tears and suffering this gives rise to is the beginning of true knowledge.
Our Master has asked us not just for a new song but one which encompasses the cosmic story of the Ancient One.
No wonder the wine of this message cannot but awaken a bursting forth of a new dawn. We have not earned such a reward but our song transforms the world.
Lees are the dead yeast and residue at the bottom of a cask of wine. We have a fresh outpouring and vintage. That is why we sing joyful song like this in our new ‘Babylon’.