Friday, December 9, 2011

"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"

Advent is usually a time where we await the first coming of Jesus, the long-awaited Rescuer, to his people to deliver them from darkness. But this ancient hymn (which I rediscovered on an Alex Mejias album) leaves the option open to us that the Advent season is as much now about awaiting Jesus' final bodily return to this earth.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wing├Ęd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

--"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," from the (Greek) Liturgy of St. James (4th century)

Oh, that we would sing more hymns like this in our churches today! I cannot help but feel the magnitude, the gravity, the splendor of Jesus when we sing of his reign and of his return in glory, his eternal kingdom.

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