Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding.
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say;
“Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day.”
Wakened by the solemn warning,
let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.
Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heaven;
let us all, with tears of sorrow,
pray that we may be forgiven;
that when next he comes with glory,
and the world is wrapped in fear,
with his mercy he may shield us,
and with words of love draw near.
Honor, glory, might, and blessing
to the Father and the Son,
with the everlasting Spirit,
while eternal ages run.
–Words: Latin, sixth century; trans. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) as “Hark, an awful voice is sounding”. Murray’s Hymnal of 1852 changed the first line to “a thrilling voice” and Hymns Ancient & Modern of 1861 altered the text further into its present form.
–Tune: MERTON, William Henry Monk (1823-1889); descant Alan Gray, 20th century
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!
I’ve been really distraught these last few weeks. After the results of the election, I was angry, confused, scared, disgusted, hopeless. I was mad at God. I felt like we had been abandoned. That God’s guiding hand let go of us and evil has taken hold of our country.
Talks of white supremacists entering positions of power in our country. Talks of closing our border to immigrants and refugees based solely on their religion. Talks of making Muslims register their religion with the government. Hate crimes are on the rise. Blatant disregard for the basic principles on which our country was founded are being disregarded for the narrow and self-serving view of a small group of narrow-minded people whose primary driver is fear.
But I find myself continually turning to God for strength. God is always there…in our pain and in our joy, in our sureness and in our confusion, in our strength and in our weakness. It’s okay to be mad at God. It’s okay to need a break now and then. But in the end, God is always with us in the midst of all our struggles and all of our celebrations.
I find myself singing this song in my head a lot lately. It brings me strength and confidence that in spite of the failures our human society might make, there is still a spark of hope within each of us. Let us never give up on that spark of hope that is within each of us…even those of us who may exhibit darkness or evil actions toward others.
Within our darkest night you kindle a fire that never dies away, that never dies away.
Thus says the high and lofty one
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.
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