I told you I’m not an expert in Hymns. So don’t be alarmed when I say that I have just recently discovered something…like today. I just listened for the first time, ever…I think…I’m pretty sure…the hymn: “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding.” And I loved it! I am almost 100% sure I had never heard this hymn before because its haunting tune and fabulous lyrics would not have escaped my mind, had I heard it before.
First of all, let me just admit that as a speaker of English as a second language, I have a hard time remembering what the word “hark” means. So let me just refresh my own mind and begin by stating that “hark” means “listen,” or “pay attention.” I think that in order for me to remember and not forget it anymore, I shall begin every utterance that cometh out of my mouth either here at home or at work with a resounding: “HARK!” See, that’s the other thing…I have a hard time understanding old English…which is another reason for me to not be much of a hymn buff.
At any rate, the title is so appropriate, so, let’s listen, let’s pay attention to the thrilling voice that is sounding – I really suggest you listen to it, no pun intended. It is such a better experience than to just read the lyrics, so here’s both, a link for you to hear it, and the lyrics. The video does have the lyrics too! Here it is:
Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding;
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say,
“Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day.”
Wakened by the solemn warning
Let the earthbound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all ill dispelling,
Shines upon the morning skies.
Lo, the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from Heav’n;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven.
That when next He comes in glory,
And the world is wrapped in fear,
With His mercy He may shield us,
And with words of love draw near.
Honor, glory, might, and blessing
Be to God: the Father, Son
And the everlasting Spirit,
While eternal ages run.
Once again…we witness here the beautiful simplicity of the tune and the profound significance of the words combined to bring us the powerful and lasting message of the paradoxical state of the Christian calling to wait for Our Lord to come again as we rejoice in His current presence.
As I read and hear this hymn, the urgency in the word “hark” commands me to a position of attentive listening for the Lord is near. The song tells us that it is time to abandon the ways of the world. It’s time to turn to the Light, give up darkness and give priority to the soul. The Lamb so long expected is coming! He is coming in glory and might. He is coming to right all wrongs. But He also comes with mercy abounding and with forgiveness for those found in sorrowful repentance, under the shield of His blood. He will shield us as we give Him all honor and glory for as long as we wait.
May the Father, the Son and the Everlasting Spirit equip us for this period of waiting so He may find us by His side on the glorious day of His return.