In the spirit of not reinventing the wheel reblogging on the O Antiphons.

Originally posted on Cooking for Jesus: Celebrating the Christian Year:

Perhaps the best known Advent hymn is “O Come, o Come, Emmanuel.” What you may not know is that it is not 1 hymn but 7  as it is the compilation of what are known as the “O Antiphons”.

A bit of musical terminology first. An antiphon is a response (The Greek means “other voice”) usually to a psalm reading. Think of it this way: instead of quoting a bit of scripture and saying ‘Can I have an Amen?!” You’re reading a bit of scripture and saying “Can I have a ANtiphon?!

In the last week of Advent that response–typically not a psalm but to the Magnificat when sung during the evening service of vespers–comes in the form of the “O Antiphons”, so termed because each of these response prayers begins with “O”. There are 7  O Antiphons (8 in the English Sarum Cycle ), and they each…

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1. O Savior, rend the heavens wide;
Come down, come down with mighty stride;
Unlock the gates, the doors break down;
Unbar the way to heaven’s crown.

2. O Father, light from heaven send;
As morning dew, O Son, descend.
Drop down, you clouds, the life of spring:
To Jacob’s line rain down the King.

3. O earth, in flow’ring bud be seen;
Clothe hill and dale in garb of green.
Bring forth, O earth, a blossom rare,
Our Savior, sprung from meadow fair.

4. O Fount of hope, how long, how long?
When will You come with comfort strong?
O come, O come, Your throne forego;
Console us in our vale of woe.

5. O Morning Star, O radiant Sun,
When will our hearts behold Your dawn?
O Sun, arise; without Your light
We grope in gloom and dark of night.

6. Sin’s dreadful doom before us lies;
Grim death looms fierce before our eyes.
O come, lead us with mighty hand
From exile to our promised land.

7. There shall we all our praises bring
And sing to You, our Savior King;
There shall we laud You and adore
Forever and forevermore.

On the Second Sunday in Advent; the time tuns from the end times, the second coming of Christ, to his first coming: the coming of Jesus into the world. From the choir of my favorite cathedral comes one of my favorite Advent hymns, which is–in my world-always sung on the second Sunday in Advent: “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”.

Lo, He comes on clouds descending!


The Bridegroom soon will call us

The Bridegroom soon will call us,
Come, all ye wedding guests!
May not His voice appall us,
While slumber binds our breasts;
May all our lamps be burning,
And oil be found in store,
That we, with Him returning,
May open find the door.

There shall we see delighted
Our dear Redeemer’s face,
Who leads our souls benighted
To glory by His grace;
The patriarchs shall meet us,
The prophets’ holy band,
Apostles, martyrs, greet us
In that celestial land.

They will not blush to own us
As brothers, sisters dear,
Love ever will be shown us
When we with them appear;
We all shall come before Him,
Who for us Man became,
As Lord and God adore Him,
And ever bless His Name.

Our Father, rich in blessing,
Will give us crowns of gold
And, to His bosom pressing,
Impart a bliss untold,
Will welcome with embraces
Of never ending love,
And deck us with His graces
In blissful realms above.

In yonder home shall never
Be silent music’s voice;
With hearts and lips forever
We shall in God rejoice;
The angels shall adore Him,
All saints shall sing His praise,
And bring with joy before Him
Their sweetest heav’nly lays.

In mansions fair and spacious
Will God the feast prepare,
And ever kind and gracious,
Bid us its riches share;
There bliss that knows no measure
From springs of love shall flow,
And never changing pleasure
His bounty will bestow.

Thus God shall from all evil
Forever make us free,
From sin, and from the devil,
From all adversity,
From sickness, pain, and sadness,
From troubles, cares, and fears,
And grant us heavenly gladness
And wipe away our tears.


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