With the return of Favorite Hymns Summer on June 16, I thought a fun theme for my three summer Tidings articles might be to write about each of the three hymns I have entered as favorites this time:
With that, then, I will start at the top of this year’s list. “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending” comes to us from the early days of the Methodist tradition. The text began as an early version written in 1750 by John Cennick but was later completely rewritten in 1758 by Cennick’s friend, Charles Wesley, brother of Methodist movement founder John Wesley. I feel relatively safe in saying that Charles Wesley is the most prolific hymnwriter that Christianity has ever known, as he wrote texts for more than 6,000 hymns! Ten of his hymns have made it across denominational lines as well as two and a half centuries to be included in the red Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal we use at Trinity, the most famous being the Christmas classic “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing“.
The tune for “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending”, named HELMSLEY, is credited (1763) to Thomas Olivers, another early Methodist. would very much like to write a new text someday to go along with this tune because it is one of many that deserve to be used more often than they currently are. Below is the version of the text that we have in our hymnal, which includes (with slight alterations) verses 1, 4, and 5 of Wesley’s text:
1. Lo, he comes with clouds descending, once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending join to sing the glad refrain:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Christ the Lord returns to reign.
2. Now redemption, long expected, comes in solemn splendor near;
all the saints this world rejected thrill the trumpet sound to hear:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! See the day of God appear!
3. Yea, amen, let all adore thee, high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow'r and glory, claim the kingdom as thine own.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone!
You too can join in the fun of Favorite Hymns Summer by entering your favorites! I invite you to submit your selections any time through June 9th, even if you turned in picks back in 2017 when we first did this during the summer--I would like us to refresh the list every couple years as people join the congregation. Simply fill out a Favorite Hymns Summer card on the small table in the Fireside Room and drop it in the box to enter your favorites, or you can enter them on the Favorite Hymns Summer page of the site. I look forward to singing everyone’s favorites this summer!
Pastor Micah Garnett has been our Pastor since July 2016. He grew up in York, PA and graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. He enjoys worship, working with social services in Fulton County, writing hymns, and cycling.