96

What Feast of Love

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This Christmas song sets in contrast the gift from heaven that is celebrated around the manger with the gift that is celebrated at the table—the reason for the newborn in the manger. The metaphors here of Christ as the bread from heaven and of the banquet from heaven (stanza 1) and the wine of love (stanza 3) are reminders of the Lord’s Supper which Christ instituted as a way of remembering him and of being nurtured with the food of everlasting life (stanza 1). The words “taste and see,” in stanzas 1 and 3, are reminders of the invitation of Christ in the upper room to “take…eat…drink...”
 
It is worth considering Belgic Confession, Article 35, as a reminder to recognize the “spiritual and heavenly bread…by which our life is sustained.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 29, Question and Answer 79 also brings to mind that these elements are the “true food and drink of our souls for eternal life.”
 
In stanza 1 of “What Feast of Love,” the “food of everlasting life” is a reference to the way in which Christ “nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Question and Answer 75) and that “his crucified body and poured-out blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Question and Answer 76).

Tune Information

Name
GREENSLEEVES
Key
e minor or modal
Meter
8.7.8.7.6.8.6.7

Hymn Story/Background

Delores Dufner writes, when asked about this hymn:
 
Our liturgy planning team wanted a communion song which would tie the mystery of Christ’s presence for us in the Eucharist with Christ’s presence for us in the Incarnation. Because the tune GREENSLEEVES is associated with the Christmas hymn, “What Child Is This,” the tune seemed ideal for this purpose. 
— Delores Dufner

This text is associated with GREENSLEEVES, a beloved tune, named for the character about which the old folk song was written, Lady Green Sleeves. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Delores Dufner is a member of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, with Master's Degrees in Liturgical Music and Liturgical Studies.  She is currently a member and a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the National Pastoral Musicians (NPM), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Monastic Worship Forum. 
 
Delores is a writer of liturgical, scripturally based hymn and song texts which have a broad ecumenical appeal and are contracted or licensed by 34 publishers in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and China.  She has received more than 50 commissions to write texts for special occasions or needs and has published over 200 hymns, many of which have several different musical settings and appear in several publications. She is the author of three hymn collections: Sing a New Church (1994, Oregon Catholic Press), The Glimmer of Glory in Song (2004, GIA Publications), and And Every Breath, a Song (2011, GIA Publications).     
 
Delores, the middle child of five, was born and raised on a farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.  She attended a one-room country school in which she learned to read music and play the tonette, later studying piano and organ.
 
Delores was a school music teacher, private piano and organ instructor, and parish organist/choir director for twelve years. She served as liturgy coordinator for her religious community of 775 members for six years and as Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota for fifteen years. She subsequently worked as a liturgical music consultant for the Diocese of Ballarat, Victoria in southeast Australia for fifteen months. At present, she is preparing a fourth hymn collection and assisting with liturgy planning and music leadership at the monastery. 
— Delores Dufner
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.