Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let No Harp Remain Unstrung

I thought there was a composer to write about yesterday but online and offline research determined that there was a typo at the Cyber Hymnal site. We'll get to him later in the month.

So here's another Advent hymn, a favorite of mine that may not be as familiar as some.

Christ is coming! Let creation
From its groans and travail cease;
Let the glorious proclamation
Hope restore and faith increase;
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Come, O blessèd Source of Peace!

Earth can now but tell the story
Of thy bitter cross and pain;
We shall yet behold thy glory,
When thou comest back to reign;
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Let each heart repeat the strain.

Long thine exiles have been pining,
Far from rest, and home, and thee;
Now, in heav’nly vestures shining,
They their loving Shepherd see;
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Haste the joyous jubilee.

With that blessèd hope before us,
Let no harp remain unstrung;
Let the mighty Advent chorus
Onward roll from tongue to tongue:
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Come, O Jesus, quickly come!

John Ross MacDuff, 1853, alt.
Joachim Neander, 1680

Author John Ross MacDuff wrote several books on religious and scriptural themes, many of which you can see on Google.

Joachim Neander was a theologian and eventually a pastor in the German Reformed Church. One year before his death at age 30 he published a collection of 71 hymns, some with his own tunes, including this familiar one, which is sometimes called NEANDER. Though I never made the connection before now, a river valley near Dusseldorf was renamed in his honor, and in 1856, prehistoric fossilized remains were found there that were named Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man). There's a odd hymnic association for you.

1 comment:

Leland Bryant Ross said...

I've seen this hymn text but never sung it in worship. I have sung the tune, but never to this text; probably it was "All my hope on God is founded", or possibly "Christ is made the sure foundation" (though that's more commonly set to REGENT SQUARE or WESTMINSTER ABBEY) or "Open now thy gates of beauty". Other texts I see set to it include "All authority and power" by Christopher Idle, "God of love and God of power", "Let me enter Gods own dwelling", "See the morning sun ascending"... there are certainly others— lists at least ten of them. I was highly amused to see the Neanderthal connection.

Leland aka Haruo