Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O come O come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, thou Root of Jesse's tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Words: Latin, ca. 9th cent.; ver. Hymnal 1940, alt. (trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866) et al., 1851)

Music: Veni, veni Emmanuel, plainsong, Mode 1, Processionale, 15th Cent.; adapt. Thomas Helmore (1811-1890)


Hymn 56, "O come, O come, Emmanuel", in The Hymnal 1982 (New York: Church, 1982).

Alan Richardson, ed., A Theological Word Book of the Bible (New York: Macmillan, 1950)

During Advent we greet the gospel singing verses of Hymn 56, "O Come O Come Emmanuel" - O Antiphons, an ancient Latin hymn, adapted for our congregational use. In these verses we are singing a 19th century translation of a 12th century version of a 9th century hymn based on the first century words of Matthew (1:23) which cite the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (7:14). These words so old and so new bring us right to the present moment - the moment of freedom God has given us in Christ Jesus - and beyond into the fullness of the completion of his work in the world: his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. We greet the coming Christ in a variety of titles, drawn from Old Testament prophecy and writings, from the Torah and from the Gospels. They include Wisdom, Lord of might, offspring of Jesse, Key of David, day-spring from on high, desire of nations, Son of God, savior, teacher, King of Peace.


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