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Comfort, Comfort Ye My People

December 18, 2016

Paraphrased from Isaiah 40:1-5

By Johann Olearius

Tr. by Catherine Winkworth

Comfort, comfort, ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Bowed beneath their sorrows’ load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover
And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.

Hark, the Herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance
Since the Kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet Him
And the hills bow down to greet Him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token
That His Word is never broken.

Questions:

This paraphrase is usually sung as a Psalm during Advent, typically to lively music.What sensibility does it primarily express? Why is this appropriate during the Advent season?

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