The text of this hymn is based on Isaiah 40:1-11, in which Isaiah foretells the comforting of God’s people of the peace that waits for them in the new Jerusalem. Sins will be forgiven, wars will cease, the Kingdom of God will reign eternal!
(the words to this version are slightly different from what is provided below)
Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load;
speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.
For the herald’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all men to repentance,
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord
now o’er the earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that his word is never broken.
Words: Johann G. Olearius, 1671;
trans. Catherine Winkworth, 1863
–From the album Praise the Spirit, sung by the Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church Choir