"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Hymn on Learning Hope


When I learn a new hymn that affects my heart, it seems like 9 times out of 10 I can assume it is by Thomas Pollock, Henry Lyte, or Horatius Bonar. So when working on a paper, I should have known that when the words to a song struck me, and I looked up the words, I would find it was by Horatius Bonar.

The hymn has a lament quality. "How Long?" Until learning the not-yet of salvation, one cannot associate with this hymn. Only when one can learn the third, neglected divine virtue of hope, can one find warrant and permission to write and reflect for edification on such a hymn. Again, I tire of hearing songs of "Victory in Jesus" as an already complete reality. To believe salvation is full already is to either not know yourself (and your sin), to be insulated from the world (and its pain) or to have a low view of "so great a salvation." All these things, sin, pain and salvation are all greater than we pretend in the American Church.

Come Then, by Honar Bonar

1. The Church has waited long
Her absent Lord to see
And still in loneliness she waits
A friendless stranger she
Age after age has gone,
Sun after sun has set
And still, in weeds of widowhood,
She weeps a mourner yet

Come then, Lord Jesus, come

2. The serpent's brood increase,
The powers of hell grow bold
The conflicts thickens, faith is low,
And love is waxing cold
How long, O Lord our God,
Holy and true and good
Wilt thou not judge Thy suffering Church,
Her sighs and tears and blood?

Come then, Lord Jesus, come

3. We long to hear thy voice,
To see Thee face to face
To share Thy crown and glory then,
As now we share thy grace
Should not the loving bride,
The absent Bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief,
Until her Lord return?

Come then, Lord Jesus, come

4. The whole creation groans,
And wait to hear that voice
That shall restore her comeliness,
And make her wastes rejoice
Come, Lord, and wipe away,
The curse, the sin, the stain
And make this blighted world of ours,
Thine own fair world again

Come then, Lord Jesus, come

4 comments:

Ryan G. Smith said...

Thanks for posting "old" hymns of the faith! It's funny how someone like me (us) can grow up in a hymnal loving tradition, yet totally miss some of the great ones. I'm with you on ole' Horatius, he wrote some of the best ones.

Andrew said...

This reminds me of when Bono said he thought the blues would be more honest worship music, and that at times our triumphalism flies in the face of honest troubles.

...though I guess by quoting a pop-star I just destroyed all of the cool old-ness of the hymn lol.

Nicodemus said...

I also know another one by him called "I heard the voice of Jesus say". I bought a book sometime ago called "Hymns and Their Writers" by Jack Strahan by Gospel Tract Publications in Glasgow Scotland that is worth a look at if it is still obtainable.

Found your site on google as I had a comment from Adam Pastor after I put up the Athanasian Creed and wanted to know if anyone else had heard.

Jared Nelson said...

Andrew -

You can't get cooler than Bono.

No foul.