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Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

The Parting Glass

Before there was Auld Lang Syne, another song was sung to mark the departure of good company – The Parting Glass. It’s a Gaelic song that pulls the heart-strings very tight and makes the tear-ducts very wet: “So fill to me the parting glass / And drink a health whate’er befall / And gently rise and softly call / Good night and joy be to you all.”

Funny to construct a parting song that makes you not want to leave! A better strategy would be to sing a song either so raucously, or so out of tune, or so offensively, that hosts would be happy to see the back of you. But to sing a song that makes you want to get off your horse and go straight back inside, surely only makes the parting all the harder.

I wonder if that parting song that was sung at the end of the great Supper had the same effect. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the mount of Olives.” This world had never seen such an evening. Such important things were said. Such precious things were done. And such poignant prophecies were given. One would betray him. The cock would crow thrice. And blood would soon be shed. “So drink with Me the parting glass / Do this in memory of Me / For I’ll soon rise and softy call / When I have giv’n My life for all.”

DM 10th July 2021

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