Sunday, December 21, 2008

The World So Long Had Waited

For the fourth and last Sunday in Advent, churches following the Revised Common Lectionary readings will hear Luke 1:26-38, the story of the angel Gabriel telling Mary of the wonder God has in store for her, and Mary's all-important "yes!"

This story is told not only during Advent, but also on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. Bishop William Walsham How, author of this hymn, wrote it for inclusion in Church Hymns (1871), for which he was chair of the committee assembling it.

Great Gabriel sped on wings of light,
With wondrous tidings laden,
And came from heav'n's unclouded height
To greet a lowly maiden.

For God had marked her low estate,
And looked on her with favor;
And to this day we celebrate
The mighty gift God gave her.

O matchless bliss! that from her womb
Should spring the Uncreated,
The great and Holy One, for whom
The world so long had waited.

O Mary blest, we still would trace
Your earthly footsteps lowly;
Your joys and woes, your saintly grace,
Your life so calm and holy.

William Walsham How, 1871; alt.
Traditional Irish melody

This sound file is somewhat slower than I think the hymn should be played, but I listened to four different online files before I found one that correctly played the triplet figure in the second line.

Another Advent is winding down. The carols are coming closer!


Leland Bryant Ross said...

Here's a faster St Columba (roughly 36% faster!) that is otherwise identical, I think, to the ibiblio one you linked to:

St. Columba (Tempo=136)

Leland aka Haruo

Leland Bryant Ross said...

We're deviating from the Lectionary this Sunday - 6 inches of snow have led us to cancel services for the day. The tune is of course familiar, but thanks for a good text I'd never sung before to remind me of what I'm missing.

Leland aka Haruo

C.W.S. said...

Yes, that's closer to the tempo I'd prefer - thanks!

Sorry to hear about the snow cancellation; I suppose it happened all over. We were having mostly rain by Sunday morning, and most of our choir (27)showed up -- we nearly outnumbered the congregation.