03 January 2006

Glory be to God on High

We're still in the liturgical season of Christmas and I'm just starting to blog, so I offer you my favourite Christmas hymn by Charles Wesley. Many Methodists don't seem to be familiar with this hymn, but I think it's worth 'resurrecting'. Normally sung to Amsterdam

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend:
God comes down, he bows the sky,
And shows himself our friend:
God the invisible appears:
God, the blest, the great I AM,
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is his name.

Him the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King;
Tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring.
Emptied of his majesty,
Of his dazzling glories shorn,
Beings source begins to be,
And God himself is born!

See the eternal Son of God
A mortal son of man
Dwelling in an earthly clod
Whom heaven cannot contain!
Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
See the Lord of earth and skies;
Humbled to the dust he is,
And in a manger lies.

We, earth's children, now rejoice,
The Prince of Peace proclaim;
With heaven's host lift up our voice,
And shout Immanuel's name:
Knees and hearts to him we bow;
Of our flesh and of our bone,
Jesus is our brother now,
And God is all our own.

The third verse is my favourite. I often wish I were more demonstrative than I am, because when I sing 'Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!' I'd really like to shout it out. (When I read the words, I get the feeling that Charles Wesley would have liked to shout out the words too.)

It's a familar doctrine, that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, but when one stops to think what it means that the uncreated Creator took on human form, one begins to get a small glimpse of God's love and God's mystery.

1 comment:

cwhite said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I found it in the 1889 Methodist hymnal but wasn't sure it was by CW. It's glorious!