Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us
let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation
hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear desire of every nation
joy of every longing heart.
~ Charles Wesley
Its's hard to get my head around the fact that Charles Wesley’s birthday was yesterday and he would have been 306. And still this year, this day his hymn sings in many of our hearts. "Come Thou long expected Jesus" was first published in 1744. Don’t you wonder what his days and our days share? These words passed down through the centuries continue to somehow come alive with deep understanding. This has always been one of my favorite Advent carols, its words residing deep inside me. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. Whether singing these words in community or while walking the dogs around the neighborhood, these words continue to come alive for me. I know them. I know this yearning for release from fear and from my broken places. Even after all this time, these words are my own. Hope of all the earth Thou art. In these words I feel the heartbeat of the Advent season. The One who is coming is One for whom we are all waiting. Not just you or me, but all of us.
There are so many broken places in our institutions and the Church is certainly one. But there is so much life yet in the church. There is hope yet. Nowhere else can we stand together shoulder-to-shoulder and sing life-known songs from a shared hymnal. And when we listen for one another’s voices so that we can together sing harmony….ah, then….then the angels join in singing with us.
Wesley’s words point us toward the One who is coming. In this hymn is the promise found in these final words of the verse, with Christ’s coming there will be joy. Joy found not just for one, but for every longing heart. Alleluia.
Breath Prayer: “Come thou” “long expected Jesus”
Prayer: Holy God, we lift our voices to you this day. As we listen out for the melodies of our sisters and brothers, direct and lead us closer each day to you. And we are ever thankful. Amen.
~ this is another beautiful picture taken by my pre
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.