This piece was written amidst the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico, after another innocent migrant child was reported to have died in the custody of the U.S. government.
Having just finished Christmas caroling season, I began thinking about what I had personally learned from Jesus’ teachings, as well as the disturbing parallels with the Biblical story of King Herod, as recounted in the traditional Coventry Carol: Herod, who ordered his soldiers to kill children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, in an attempt to rout out newborn Jesus, the reputed King of the Jews. His action caused the Holy Family to flee to Egypt as refugees.
The lyrics of Carol for the Child evoke the stories of Jesus’ birth, the Flight into Egypt, and Herod’s Slaying of the Innocents, exploring those parallels with today’s realities. The subsequent reference to one of Jesus’ sayings that kept haunting my thoughts – “As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me” – is followed by a call for us to give love and justice to all people.
THE SCORE: SATB, a cappella, with occasional divisi. A seamless blend of ancient phrases with modern lyrics and harmonies, driven by emotive and dynamic contrasts.