Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favoured sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of his train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.
Every eye shall now behold him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
We who set at naught and sold him,
Pierced and nailed him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.
Those dear tokens of his passion
Still his dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To his ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
Yea, Amen! let all adore thee,
High on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for thine own;
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone
Charles Wesley 1707- 88, based on verses by John Cennick 1718-55
This hymn, written by the great Methodist hymn-writer, Charles Wesley, reminds us that God’s presence can be challenging as well as comforting.
Advent is not only a time when we recall the first “coming” of Jesus in Bethlehem, but also, traditionally, a time to contemplate his “second coming”. For most of Christian history Christians took this belief literally. Christ would reappear, “with clouds descending” at some future point in history. For some this was a very important idea. African-American slaves sung of it often in their songs; the second coming meant the end of their sufferings, as Christ would establish justice. Many Christians now would understand this metaphorically, though, believing that Christ comes into the world daily in us and through us, and to us through the lives of others.
Whatever we believe about the second coming, the idea that Christ might show up at some point can be uncomfortable. Would we be in a state of “endless exultation” or will we be “deeply wailing” if his light shone into our hearts?
· What do you believe about the second coming of Christ?
· If Christ came back tomorrow, what might you wish you had got around to changing in your life?
Bible Reading: God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. John 3.17