Sunday, November 30, 2014

Come In Our Hearts To Dwell

As you probably know, it's a new (church) year today as we observe the First Sunday in Advent.  Christmas is coming but it's not here yet, in spite of the unavoidable holiday trappings that have sprung up over the past few weeks.  Here, at least, we can slow down a bit and observe this period of waiting.

Anglican hymnwriter Claudia Frances Hernaman provides today's text.  Like most of her other hymns, this one was originally written for children.  

We are more accustomed to hearing the word "Hosanna" on Palm Sunday, but it is also appropriate at this time of year.  The First Sunday in Advent often includes lessons about the second coming of Christ (also seen in this hymn), and the promised reign of peace and justice. We often think of Hosanna as an exclamation of praise, but it is more exactly an appeal for divine help, certainly among the things we do during this time of expectation.

Hosanna! now through Advent,
With loving hearts we sing,
For Jesus Christ is coming
To be his people's King. 
Hosanna! blessed Jesus,
Come in our hearts to dwell,
And let our lives and voices
Thy praise and glory tell.

Hosanna! let this welcome
Ring out through every heart;
Draw near to us, dear Jesus,
And nevermore depart.

So when we see you coming
With angels in the sky,
Hosanna! loud Hosanna
Shall be your people's cry.

Claudia Frances Hernaman, 19th cent.; alt.
Traditional American melody, in The Sacred Harp, 1844

This tune from the American Sacred Harp, or shape note tradition, may never have been matched to this text before. However, like the word Hosanna, the tune is probably not what we would associate with an exclamation of praise, but rather with a plea for assistance.

Six (Liturgical) Years Ago: Lo! Christ comes with clouds descending

Five (Liturgical) Years Ago:
Jesus came, adored by angels

Four (Liturgical) Years Ago:
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago:
The King shall come when morning dawns

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago:
Once he came in blessing

One (Liturgical) Year Ago: In the Advent light, O Savior

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