10 Dec 2023

Hymns on Sunday, 10 December 2023

From Hymns on Sunday, 4:15 am on 10 December 2023

In this week’s programme for the Second Sunday of Advent, we look towards Christmas with a carol by Shirley Murray and Jillian Bray; there’s an atmospheric recording in Westminster Abbey of Let all mortal flesh keep silence; and Hawkes Bay choir The Linden Singers perform People look East.

Annunciation by Fra Angelico (San Marco Museum, Florence)

Annunciation by Fra Angelico (San Marco Museum, Florence) Photo: Creative Commons


Artist: Choir of Westminster Abbey, James O’Donnell (dir), Robert Quinney (organ)
Words/Music: Charles Wesley/William Penfro Rowlands
Recording: Hyperion 702801

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou art all compassion;
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.


Artist: New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir
Words/Music: Shirley Murray/Jillian Bray
Recording: NZ Hymnbook Trust 941001

Look towards Christmas! Advent is here:
welcome December, changing the year.
Whistle up, shepherds! Saddle up, kings!
Chorus up angels, flexing your wings.
Sing, sing alleluia!

Sing, sing alleluia!
Sing, sing out the story,
sing about hope and peace.

Set the world singing, make the world glad;
now is good reason not to feel sad!
Hear John the Baptist shout to prepare:
Good News is coming, earth be aware.

Mary and Joseph, soon is the day:
ready the donkey, start on your way.
You are the chosen, willing to trust,
joyful your burden, carrying Christ


Artist: Coventry Singers
Words/Music: James Montgomery/Johan Cruger
Recording: Mission Worship 2013

Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.

He comes in succour speedy to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.

He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in His path to birth.
Before Him, on the mountains, shall peace, the herald, go,
And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.

To Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end:
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His Name shall stand forever, His Name to us is Love.


Artist: Choir of Newcastle Cathedral, Scott Farrell (dir), Michael Dutton (organ)
Words/Music: Charles Coffin/Anon
Recording: Priory PRCD 720

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Come, then, and hearken, for he brings
Glad tidings from the King of kings!

Then cleansed be every Christian breast,
and furnished for so great a guest!
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.

For thou art our salvation, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward;
without thy grace our souls must fade,
and wither like a flower decayed.

Stretch forth thy hand to heal our sore
And bid us rise to fall no more,
once more upon thy people shine
and fill the world with love divine.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee
whose advent sets thy people free,
whom, with the Father, we adore,
and Holy Ghost, for evermore.


Artist: The Linden Singers of Hawkes Bay
Words/Music: Eleanor Farjeon/Trad
Recording: RNZ

People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

Angels, announce to man and beast
Him who cometh from the east.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.


Choir of Westminster Abbey, James O’Donnell (dir), Robert Quinney (organ)
Words/Music: Anon paraphrased Gerard Moultrie/Trad
Recording: Hyperion 712801

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood,
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, Lord most high!


Artist: Tenors of The Monteverdi Choir, The English Baroque Players, John Eliot Gardiner (dir)
Words/Music:Philipp Nicolai/Philipp Nicolai, Johann Sebastian Bach
Recording: Archiv

Zion hört die Wächter singen,
das Herz tut ihr vor Freuden springen,
sie wachet und steht eilend auf.
Ihr Freund kommt von Himmel prächtig,
von Gnaden stark, von Wahrheit mächtig,
ihr Licht wird hell, ihr Stern geht auf.
Nun komm, du werte Kron’,
Herr Jesu, Gottes Sohn,
Wir folgen all
zum Freudensaal
und halten mit das Abendmahl.

Zion hears the watchmen singing,

both heart and mind for joy are springing;
she wakens now, stands up with haste.

The loved one comes in heavenly splendour
strong in the power of truth and grace;
her light burns clear, her star ascends.
Now come, Thou worthy crown,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son,
We follow all
to rejoicing’s hall,
partake of the great supper there.]


Artist: The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (dir)
Words/Music: Anon/Trad arr Ralph Vaughan Williams
Recording: Coro COR 16085

This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love,
Therefore don't turn me from your door,
But hearken all both rich and poor.

The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create;
The next thing which to you I'll tell
Woman was made with man to dwell.

Thus we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose;
And so a promise soon did run
That he would redeem us by his Son

And at that season of the year
Our blest Redeemer did appear;
He here did live, and here did preach,
And many thousands he did teach.

Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say.


Artist: Gondwana Voices, Lyn Williams (dir), Marshall McGuire (harp)
Words/Music: Trad/Trad arr John Raymond Howell
Recording: ABC 472822

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
"All hail," said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

"For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honour thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name."
Most highly favoured lady, Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say –
"Most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

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