E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come
My all-time favorite Advent choral anthem was composed in 1953 by Paul and Ruth Manz, written during a time when their three-year-old son was critically ill. Reflecting on that time, Ruth reported, "I think we'd reached the point where we felt that time was certainly running out, so we committed it to the Lord, and said, 'Lord Jesus, quickly come.'"
During this time, Ruth had prepared some text for Paul for a composition based on the Book of Revelation. While at his son's bedside, Paul began composing.
Peace be to you and grace from him who freed us from our sins, who loved us all and shed his blood that we might saved be. Sing holy to our Lord, the Lord, Almighty God, who was and is and is to come; sing holy Lord! Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein, rejoice on earth, ye saints below, for Christ is coming soon! E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more; they need no light, nor lamp, nor sun, for Christ will be their all!
Paul's anthem was made popular by its performance at The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge, and more than a million copies have been sold. Paul and Ruth's son did recover from his gravely ill state, to which the couple owed to prayer.
From time to time, we hear stories in the news about the end times - apocalyptic fever! Ruth's text, however, gives us reason to ponder Advent - Latin for the coming - in a different light. As we prepare our homes and our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas, we are like watchmen, also praying for enlightenment as we await the second coming of Christ.
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, this Advent season and always, help us to live thoughtfully and prayerfully, vigilantly searching for the path of love in our lives. Amen.