Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Hymn on Epistle lesson for Advent II Series B
Bonus hymn for St. Andrew’s Day, November 30
Text: Gracia Grindal (1943-). Tune: Carson P. Cooman (1982-)
2 Peter 3:8-15a
1. We wait behind the veil for light to dawn
When night is gone
And darkness fled forever.
A thousand years are but a single day---
When reckoned by the Father.
2. That day we’ll hear the joyful trumpet sound
And earth resound,
All time will flash before us.
We’ll stand upon the fringe of time and know
What we’ve not known
Of God’s own grace and glory.
3. No tongue can tell the glory we will see
And what will be
When time will ravel open.
All things revealed for Christ is near,
All things made clear,
The old world torn and broken.
4. With love, he will reveal what he has done
As God’s own Son
To make our ending certain,
Then all we’ve suffered, known and understood
Christ will make good
And rend the final curtain.
Text © 2015 Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.
MEDITATION These images from 2 Peter are baked into much of apocalyptic language in Scripture and in the language of prophets of doom. I am not one to shun apocalyptic language. I have heard it from my youth. And I have times when I feel doom is waiting out there for us, for the nation, the world. This year has certainly provided occasions for such feelings. The Lord's returning is not the worst thing I can think of. On the contrary!
The early church had grown impatient awaiting the Lord’s return. When would it happen? Already several generations had passed away and nothing. The advice of the apostle, "Count the patience of our Lord as salvation." Jesus had said nobody, not even he nor the angels, knew when the world would end, only the Father. Meanwhile, live a holy life, Peter writes. Don't wait for his return; simply be ready for it and live in patient expectation.
I can remember as if it were this morning, I was about ten. We were walking home from evening services with my mom and dad who were ahead of me, arm in arm, in the frigid cold North Dakota winter. The snow crunching beneath our feet, a full moon above us, with a circle of light around it, caused by ice crystals refracting light in the freezing air. I asked them what it meant; and my mother surmised that it could mean that Christ was about to return because Scripture said there would be such signs in the sun, moon and stars before his return. For her this was all joy.
It gave me pause, however, in fact, not a little terror. I wanted to be ready. That night I went into the freezing cold guest room and knelt by the old iron post bed and confessed my sins, praying to be forgiven, making things right with God. Mother had no idea that she had scared me; nor had she intended to. Her daily language was drenched with Scripture and I knew it. She looked for the return of Christ with joy and assured me later that Jesus loved me and forgave my sins when I asked, a bit sorry for what she had said.
The language of this text does exactly what my mother unintentionally did to me: Help the hearers think deeply about their own lives, repent and look with joy to the ending. Most important, it teaches that we should live fully in this world, while living a holy life, near the Lord, enjoying his patience, yet ready for the end. “Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace.”
Now I am more curious than terrified. All will be revealed then, we will understand it better by and by as the old song has it. Eternity—there is so much mystery there. What will it be like? Another dimension? Whatever it will be, it will be a revelation, one I continue to wonder about. Then all will be revealed!
This was written to go with the Series B Revised Common Lectionary Epistle text for Advent II. I used an uncommon meter so there is no other tune for it. The hymn text imagery comes from the 2 Peter language and my own experience with that language.
Carson Cooman has set a number of my texts over the years, especially from this collection. Born in Rochester, New York, he graduated from Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University where he studied music composition with some of the greats of our day. He plays the organ—and only plays new music. He has had several composers write some 120 pieces of music for him which he has performed around the world. He has also written over 600 compositions of his own, from opera, to instrumental solos and orchestral works, along with hymn tunes. His organ compositions are published exclusively by Wayne Leupold Editions. It is a real honor to have had him set these texts.
LINKS--some of his music, but not the hymn tune
Veni, Emmanuel played by Cooman
Festpreludium by Cooman and played by him
Arioso Cantabile by Cooman and played by him https://youtu.be/M0HB3USfQFY
Just for fun, I include a hymn on St. Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland, Russia, Cyprus, Romania, Greece, to name a few. It is his day today. From the collection Festivals and Martyrs, 2015.
James Clemens is a composer of wide reach too. He has set many of my texts, written operas, operettas, many musical pieces.
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