Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding (ELW 246)
1 Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding!
“Christ is near,” we hear it say.
“Cast away the works of darkness
all you children of the day!”
2 Wakened by the solemn warning,
from earth’s bondage let us rise;
Christ, our sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.
3 See the Lamb, so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heav’n.
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
one and all, to be forgiv’n;
4 So, when next he comes in glory
and the world is wrapped in fear,
he will shield us with his mercy
and with words of love draw near.
5 Honor, glory, might, and blessing
to the Father and the Son
with the everliving Spirit
while unending ages run!
Advent devotions were an important part of our family life while our boys were growing up. Included in our devotional time was the singing of Advent hymns. Because of that experience the Advent hymns are some of my favorites. Our theme this week has been judgment, which can lead to a view of Jesus as a harsh judge to be feared. Fire is another theme present in our readings this week. We need to remember that fire can be destructive (judgment) but can also bring about new life. This hymn reminds us that Christ comes to bring an end to darkness, pardon from sins, and mercy and love. Fire is not just judgment but also a sign of the presence of God which brings us hope. If we only dwell on God’s judgment it can lead to despair. We need to focus on all the ways that Jesus comes to us to renew us, especially through the Word and Sacraments.
Jesus our Emmanuel, thank-you for coming into our lives to bring an end to darkness, to forgive sins, and to shower us with your love. Continue to reveal yourself to those who only see you as a harsh judge, that they might experience the new life that you bring. Amen.