Dayenu Wisdom for Holy Week

If you’ve ever been part of a traditional Passover, you’ve sung a song called Dayenu (die-AY-nu). You may think of it as an upbeat children’s song, but its actually an ancient liturgy that brims over with profound wisdom. The earliest known copy dates from before 900 AD, and some scholars think it’s far older than that. The name of the song, dayenu, means “enough for us.” After each one of fourteen verses comes the chorus, dayenu. Here’s an abbreviated version of the song:

If He had rescued us from Egypt,
but not punished the Egyptians,
It would have been enough! (Dayenu)

If He had punished the Egyptians,
but not divided the Red Sea before us,
It would have been enough…

If He had divided the Red Sea before us,
but not supplied us in the desert for 40 years,
It would have been enough…

If He had supplied us in the desert for 40 years,
but not brought us to the land of promise,
It would have been enough…

If He had brought us to the land of promise,
but not made us a holy people,
It would have been enough…

How much more, then, are we to be grateful to God for all of these good things which he has indeed done for all of us!

I love the wonderful attitude here. The song re-tells the story of the Exodus and slowly savors each one of God’s many blessings, declaring that if God would have stopped at any one of them, they would have been completely satisfied. What a thought!

How much longer could the list be if we Christians added to it, especially during Holy Week as we meditate on Christ’s atoning death and victorious resurrection. Here’s just the beginning of what I would add:

If he had redeemed me with his suffering and death,
but not filled me with His Spirit,
it would have been enough.

If he had filled me with His Spirit,
but did not guide my life daily as His disciple,
it would have been enough.

If he guided my life daily as His disciple,
but did not lovingly answer my prayers,
it would be enough.

If he lovingly answered my prayers
but did not give me His promise to spend eternity with Him,
it would be enough.

(What verses would you add?)

How much more, then, are we to be grateful to God for all of these good things which he has indeed done for all of us!

.

Wine

Comments

2 Responses to “Dayenu Wisdom for Holy Week”

  1. 1
    Nancy Johnsen|April 23, 2014

    The overwhelming gratitude that this hymn depicts is catching! It shows how prodigal the Father’s love and generosity is to us, that he would adopt us as his own people!!

  2. 2
    David Strommen|April 3, 2015

    I agree. I was thinking also today of Jesus saying to his sleeping disciples “It is Enough” and considering that even when we let God down, God does not let us down but continues to act. This is true in the relationship of Jesus and his disciples (their falling asleep in the garden wasn’t the first or last time of their letting Jesus down) and it is true when you consider the the Exodus story as well…or go further back to Abraham, Lot, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and back all the way to Adam…God is enough, God acts for us.

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