Tag Archives: King

Come, Thou Almighty King

Come, Thou almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!
Father all glorious, o’er all victorious,
Come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!

Jesus, our Lord, arise,
Scatter our enemies, and make them fall;
Let Thine almighty aid our sure defense be made,
Our souls on Thee be stayed; Lord, hear our call.

Come, Thou incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend!
Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy Word success,
Spirit of holiness, on us descend!

Come, holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart,
And ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power!

To Thee, great One in Three,
Eternal praises be, hence, evermore.
Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see,
And to eternity love and adore!

Words by Anonymous, though some records credited it to Charles Wesley
Music by Felice de Giardini, 1769

 


He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Revelations 22:20

As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
Daniel 7:9

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song. May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
Psalm 68:1

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.
John 15:26

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19


 

We have all been invited to parties or held parties that we invited people to attend.  More often than not, these are just general get togethers, but sometimes they are held for a special occasion. It might be a birthday, a graduation or just to honor a specific person.

I remember many years ago when we hosted a celebration for my parents 25 wedding anniversary.  We planned for the activities, who would speak, and the special music.  We planned a location and a menu, which we then spent many hours preparing. We sent out invitations to friends and family to join us.  Most importantly we made sure the guests of honor would be there.  We asked our parents to do us the honor of joining us in this time of celebration to honor them. It is this type of invitation that is given in the hymn, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”

The hymn begins with those very words, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”  It is the cry of the heart for all those who know him, for our truest desire is to be in his presence.  It is a desire that is reflected in the closing words of the Bible itself. In Revelation 22:20 John writes, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

He is the guest of honor, who we seek to praise and worship.  We want to give him the honor that he deserves, honor that we feel is more than we can give.  So we ask Him to “Help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!” For he is our Father all glorious” who is “o’er all victorious.” He is our rightful King, to whom we submit and call for him to “Come and reign over us” because He is the “Ancient of Days!” spoken of by Daniel in chapter 7 verse 9 when he writes, “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.”

The hymn continues, “Jesus, our Lord, arise, Scatter our enemies, and make them fall.” And so our call is not just our desire to praise and worship him, but to find peace and security. Psalm 68:1 says, “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.” In this world we face many dangers and adversaries, but we can trust in the truth that the enemy will scatter in the presence of God.  So we can know that if we remain strong in Him we can know peace as Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” It is in this truth that the hymn writer declares, “Let Thine almighty aid our sure defense be made, Our souls on Thee be stayed; Lord, hear our call.”

The hymn continues to call out to God as it reads, “Come, Thou incarnate Word.” And so we are reminded that the God ee call to has come to us.  He came to us as described in John 1:14 where we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Emmanuel, God with us.  So as we reflect back that God did come to us, we look forward to a day when He will return.  He will “Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy Word success.

But as we remember that He did come and we look forward to His coming again, we are reminded that He has not left us alone.  The hymn calls out, “Come, holy Comforter.” Jesus promised that he would send a comforter, an advocate, a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit.  In John 15:26 Jesus says, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.” An so the hymn continues, “Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour. Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart, And ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power!” The Holy Spirit stands as a witness, to Jesus and the Father.  He dwells within” the heart of the believer and will never abandon them.

So the call has rung out, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit would come to us.  So the hymn writer concludes by writing, “To Thee, great One in Three.” The recognition that all three person’s of the Godhead are worthy of our praise. That the Godhead, three in one, watches overs us, protects us and comforts us. For we have been called, as presented in Matthew 28:19, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The desire of our soul, is to be in the presence of God. Our hope is to know the peace and comfort that come only from His presence.  When we honestly cry out from our heart, we will join in and sing, “Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see, And to eternity love and adore!

 

 

 

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Our God Reigns

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

He had no stately form, He had no majesty
That we should be drawn to Him.
He was despised and we took no account of Him.
Our God reigns, our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame.
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

Meek as a lamb that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Dumb as a sheep before its shearer,
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain
That we might be born again.
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;
He is alive, He is alive.
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side
Yes we know, He is alive.
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

Words & Music by Leonard E. Smith, 1974

 


How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:2 – 7

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Luke 24:37 – 39


 

Psalm 47 tells us in verses 6 – 8 to “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.” This is what we are called to do, praise God who reigns as King over all. This call is the foundation behind Leonard Smith’s hymn, “Our God Reigns.”

In his hymn, Smith chooses to present us with a simple presentation. We are presented with a paraphrase of scripture followed by a proclamation that God reigns. This simple A – B formula draws us to the truth that scripture teaches us about Christ and reminds us of reasons why he is worthy of praise.

There is a great truth that is communicated in this simplicity, a truth that needs little explanation. Sometimes, that is exactly what we need. A hymn that does not need thorough explanation, but simply communicates the truths of scripture.

The first verse proclaims “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him Who brings good news, good news; Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness Our God reigns, our God reigns!” A paraphrase of Isaiah 52:7 which says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

As the hymn continues on, we find that verses 2 – 5 combined paraphrase Isaiah 53:2 – 7 which tells us “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

This passage is fascinating in the portrayal of the King we worship. We are presented with a reality that flies in the face of what the world tells us. It is best summed up in God’s response to Samuel when he anointed David. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” There was nothing special about Jesus that drew people’s attention, but he gave everything for those He loved. He willingly took upon Himself our sins for our forgiveness. It is for this reason, that we are compelled to worship Him.

The final verse of the hymn reminds us that not only did He take the penalty for our sin upon Himself, He rose victorious from the grave bearing the signs of His sacrifice. The holes in “His hands, His feet, His side.” Our God reigns victorious. So we celebrate with great joy and excitement for “Yes we know, He is alive.”

 

 

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Lead On, Oh King Eternal

156234_572903450925_1750536026_nLead on, O King eternal, The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal, We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal, Till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords’ loud clashing, Nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy The heavenly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal, We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning Where’er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us, We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest; Lead on, O God of might.

Words by Ernest W. Shurtleff, 1888
Music by Henry T. Smart, 1836

 


For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:2

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
Zechariah 4:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:5

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Timothy 4:7 – 8


 

Remember when you were a kid, all the games you used to play. Duck, Duck Goose, Red Rover and of course, Follow the Leader.  My son used to play a version of follow the leader that he loved when he was little.  I would say, “Hey, do the dance.” He would jump up and proceed to walk me through the steps. He would call out the move and do it, then wait for me to repeat it.  Every time it was done, it varied slightly but had the same basic moves.  It was loads of fun and he would be so excited to lead. And why not? Everyone likes to be the leader.  The catch is that not everyone can be the leader.  Someone has to follow.

It really doesn’t change that much when we grow up. Yes, many of us will have the opportunities to be a leader, but all of us are followers at some point in time.  Now we really should not look down upon following, because that is how we learn and grown in our skills and roles in life. So it is to with our walk with Christ.  Christ is the leader that we have been given the opportunity to follow and learn from so that we can grow to be more like Him.  This is the theme found in Ernest W. Shurtleff’s “Lead On, Oh King Eternal.”

The hymn begins by presenting us with what appears to be a theme of war.  “The day of march”, fields of conquest” and “our battle song.” Is this really a song of war? Well to begin with the concept of a battle is not foreign to the Christian faith but we do need to see it in context.  Ephesians 6:1 says, “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” As followers of Christ we are in a battle, a spiritual battle.  As Paul states in this passage, there are indeed evil spiritual forces that come against us.  But we are not alone, Christ himself faced these battles as described most clearly in Matthew 4.  Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He “has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” Christ is our example in the battle that we face each day against temptation, again the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” By following His lead, we can find the strength and guidance to stand strong in the face of these battles.

No the message of this hymn is not war, but that we can stand strong in the face of attacks that come our way when we follow the lead of our King.  So the hymn continues by not focusing on the battle, but the victory that we can have in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) So we read, “Lead on, O King eternal, Till sin’s fierce war shall cease, And holiness shall whisper The sweet amen of peace.” While we may be in a battle, we can look forward to the day when peace shall reign. We can look forward to the day when the struggles are gone and we can rest in God’s presence.  It is a victory we can not achieve through our own strength in battle.  As Zechariah 4:6 says, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

No the victory does not come through our strength, but through God’s Spirit which he bestows on all those who believe. So we do not set out looking for a fight, but to live by Christ example, to follow his lead “with deeds of love and mercy.” For Christ Jesus has saved us through His love (John 3:16) and mercy (Titus 3:5).

Yes, God leads us through the struggles and battles of this life.  He leads on to a day when we will can rest in the peace of His presence. And we can know that if we follow Him, “there is in store . . . the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award . . . on that day.” (1 Timothy 4:8) So as we look toward that day, we continue to call out, “Lead on, O God of might.”

 

 

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Brian Olson is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ having worked with both youth and adults.

Again I Say Rejoice

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He all His foes shall quell, shall all our sins destroy,
And every bosom swell with pure seraphic joy;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

Words by Charles Wesley, 1744
Music by John Darwall, 1770

 


The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes.
His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory.
Psalm 97:1 – 6

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1 – 2

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16


 

Everybody loves a celebration.  Some are looking for a huge blow-out, while others simply want a little recognition. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, which of course seems like a good reason to celebrate. Now are we going to have a big party? Probably not.  But people will wish me Happy Birthday and I will appreciate the recognition.  Some may not consider this celebrating, but however you define celebration, it is a time of excitement and rejoicing.  This is the theme of Charles Wesley, “Rejoice The Lord Is King.”

The title and first lines sums up the whole point of the hymn, “Rejoice the Lord is King.” That is to say, we need to be filled with excitement at the realization that the Lord is King.  A message that draws our minds to Psalm 97:1 where we read, “The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice!”

The Lord as King is a theme that is found through out scripture. But we as Americans have a unique challenge in understanding what that really means.  You see, for Charles Wesley in 18th century England, the idea of a King was in the front of his mind.  He lived in a Monarchy where the King was the final power and authority, but for us, the concept of a King is very foreign to our minds. We live in a land where no one person holds that level of power.  So we must ask ourselves, what does it mean to say, “The Lord is King.”

For one thing, a king is a ruler for life. A reminder that God is not simply in a position of authority here and there. It is authority that spans from the time before creation and on through eternity. Beyond this, a king  is usually revered as the sovereign leader of his nation. So God is the sovereign ruler of all He has created. From this world and beyond, He is ruler. And more specifically, He is the absolute ruler over his people.

The Lord is King, the sovereign ruler over all creation. This could be a terrifying reality, but our God is not a malevolent ruler, but a God who cares for His creation. This is why Wesley writes that we are to rejoice.  And then, in an echo of Philippians 4:4, he writes, “Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!”

The hymn concludes that our rejoicing in not simply that the Lord is King. We also “Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come, And take His servants up to their eternal home.” This is the hope that Paul wrote of in Romans 5:1 – 2 where he states that, “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” We have peace with God and can come before the throne of our glorious King. We need not fear Him, for by grace we have been justified through faith in Jesus.

No, we need not fear God, rather we can rejoice that He cares for us.  We can rejoice that He has opened the door for us to know Him.  We can rejoice that He has provided the way to eternal life. (John 3:16) We can rejoice that He is King.  When this joy wells within us, we can not help but Lift up our hearts and voices declaring, “Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!”

 

 

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Joy To The World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Words by Isaac Watts, 1719
Music by Unkown, (arranged by Lowell Mason, 1836)

 


Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
– Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Genesis 3:17 – 19

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Luke 2:10

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mathew 25:31


 

It’s called anthropomorphism. Attributing human characteristics to God, animals or inanimate objects.  We use it all the time.  When our car won’t start we might say that our car hates us.  When there is terrible storm we may say that it is angry or the cold is biting. When we find ourselves looking at the mountains, forest or wilderness on a beautiful morning we might say that nature is singing.  Of course, this is not something that is unique to us today, the Bible uses these terms regularly.  Psalm 19:1 says that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  This is the essence behind Issac Watts hymn, “Joy To The World.”

This hymn that we typically ascribe to Christmas, is in fact based on Psalm 98 and not the Christmas story.  (In the same way that Isaac Watts paraphrased Psalm 90 with  “Oh, God Our Help In Ages Past.”)

As I sing through the ever so familiar tune what strikes me is that the song does not speak of what we typically think of as a Christmas song.  It does not speak of Christ birth or the visit from the angels, and the response of the people of the world seems almost secondary. Instead, it speaks of the world and the response of nature to the presence of God. Take a look at the words; “Heaven, and nature sing”, “While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains rrepeat the sounding joy” and “No more let . . . thorns infest the ground.” The final one being a reference to the curse placed upon the ground as a result of the fall of man as found in Genesis 3:17 – 19.  The joy that comes from God’s presence effects all of His creation.  Nature itself sing of the joy joining with the praise of man for the Savior.

But we can find joy in the knowledge that the message of Salvation was given to man.  This is why Luke 2:10 tells us, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Salvation came to man and as a result, all of creation is blessed. This is the message of redemption.  God reached out to His creation to restore it from the fall.

No this hymn is not written to celebrate Christmas, but to look forward to the future advent, when Christ shall return as the triumphant King.  The time that Jesus himself described by saying, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” The King is coming again, but until that day we can all join together remembering His birth in the stable and looking forward to His return upon the throne with the words of the hymn, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King.”

 

 

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There’s A Song In The Air

There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer
and a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

There’s a tumult of joy
o’er the wonderful birth,
for the virgin’s sweet boy
is the Lord of the earth.
Ay! the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

In the light of that star
lie the ages impearled;
and that song from afar
has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame,
and the beautiful sing
in the homes of the nations
that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in the light,
and we echo the song
that comes down through the night
from the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely
evangel they bring,
and we greet in his cradle
our Savior and King!

Words by Josiah G. Holland, 1872
Music by Karl P. Harrington, 1904

 


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8 – 14

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
Joel 2:32, Acts 2:31


 

We have all most likely heard the expression, “music in the air.” It means that there is a sense of joy, excitement and anticipation that seems almost tangible. It is as if there is and electrical energy that is flowing through everything. It is this idea that Josiah Holland uses to launch his hymn, “There’s a song in the air!”

With this in mind Holland paints us a picture of the source of that song. He writes, “There’s a star in the sky! There’s a mother’s deep prayer and a baby’s low cry! . . . for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!” Contrast this with many of the Christmas songs that we hear this time of year. We hear songs of love, caring, family and friendship. The world can sense the song in the air and feel the effects, but in the end they miss the source. The true source of the song in the air is the birth of the Christ, the King in the Manger.

Holland continues, “There’s a tumult of joy o’er the wonderful birth, for the virgin’s sweet boy is the Lord of the earth.” This child born so long ago, is the reason for the song. Just as the joyous song filled the air through the voices of the angels declaring “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14), so the song echoes through ages and down to us today. The Lord had come to earth.

This Christmas hymn then reminds us that the song which was began that first Christmas, this song that has echoed through the ages, has also reach around the world. The hymn declares, “and that song from afar has swept over the world.” The message was intended not for a select group but for all people as the angel said “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

At Christmas, and all through the year, “There’s a song in the air” It is a song that can be sensed by all, but to those who truly listen to the song, to those who look for the real source, there is a joy beyond comprehension. For God has promised in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” For those who seek Christ, He is waiting. As Joel 2:32 tells us and Luke quotes in Acts 2:21, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” So for those who know the Savior born that night, let us join together this Christmas season to “greet in his cradle our Savior and King!”

 


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Of The Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framed; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Words by Aurelius Prudentius, 5th century (Latin) translated to english by John Neale, 1854
Music by Sanctus trope, 11th Century

 


 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him
Colossians 1:16

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6 – 8

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
Luke 1:26 – 37

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
Matthew 1:20 – 23

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19:28


 

 

“Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” At some point in our lives we all ask these questions. Ultimately, however, the question we are really wanting answered is, “Why am I here?” But if the question we want answered is, “Why am I here?” why do we ask the other questions? We ask them because we believe that we can find meaning in knowing where we come from. We think we can find purpose in understanding who we are.

For those of us who know Christ, however, the question is not “Who am I” but “Who is Jesus?” because those of us who know Him, find our true identity in Him. Our purpose is found in knowing the one we call our Savior. So who is Jesus? Who is this one that we call Savior? In the ancient hymn, “Of The Father’s Love Begotten” we are presented with the answer.

The answer to the question is many fold and begins in the first line, “Of the Fathers Love Begotten.” Jesus has come from the Father. He was sent by God. (John 1:14) This is not to say that he is a creation of God, but that he is of the same essence with the Father. For he has no beginning or end. In Revelation 22:13 Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the end.”

The answer to “who is Jesus” continues as we move on. The hymn reads, “At His Word the worlds were framed.” We are told that it was Jesus who laid out the world. He is the creator of all thing. This truth is found in Colossians 1:16 where we read, “For in him all things were created.”

And while He is the eternal God, the creator of all things, the hymn continues by telling us that, “He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know.” He took on human form and suffered and died. Philippians 2:8 tells us that, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

But the human form was not simply an outward appearance, he had become fully human.  The hymn reminds us of this when it says “O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace, By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race.” He was physically born, just as any person, through the miraculous movement of the Spirit upon Mary.  So we are reminded of the truth the angel declared to Mary in Luke 1:26 – 37 ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’ . . . ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ . . . The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.'” He was born, and for a reason, to save people from their sins.  The angel told this to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Who is Jesus?  He is the eternal God.  He is the creator of all things.  He is the baby born in the manger.  He is the Savior of the world who died on the cross. He is the one of whom the prophets foretold. (Matthew 1:22) He is the King upon the throne.(Matthew 19:28)

When we come to understand who he is, we can know why we are here.  We are here to serve him.  We are here to glorify His name.  When we realize this, all we do is done to praise His name.  It is with this realization that we can proclaim, “Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!”

 

 

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