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The Dream of the Rode

March 3, 2012

Today I read “The Dream of the Rode”, mostly in translation but also in the original to hear the flow and power of the words. The Dream of the Rode is an eighth century Anglo Saxon poem written in Old English. The translation is beautiful but it is only when you read the original aloud that you feel the power. The words are like a spell, wrapping themselves around you, transporting you away to another world.

But the spell is not a gentle one. It talks of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (the Rode) and Christ is depicted as a warrior, stripped for battle. It is an epic poem in the tradition of Beowulf, with Christ as the ‘young hero’ who saves his people from evil.

This is a war poem; a call to arms. Hearing the Dream of the Rode fires the blood, like training, like fighting itself. This is a reminder that the Christ isn’t meek and mild, so neither should his followers. Too many men turn away from the Church because seems too feminine, too nice, too gentle. Of course the Church should include the gentle, but to be the Church for the real world, it also needs to take seriously the need for strength to defend the weak. There needs to be an understanding that a Christian can be gentle and ready to fight, including physical fighting, when this is needed.

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  1. Beowulf – The Wonder Blood « bardicblogger

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