New Hymn Text: Come Quickly, Lord

I’ve been working on this text for quite some time, and it’s nearing completion. It’s an expression of the believer’s longing for Christ’s return, triumph, and face-to-face fellowship. Lord willing, Greg will have a tune for it soon.

Feel free to post suggestions or questions. It’s not finished until it’s finished.

_____

Come Quickly, Lord
8.6.8.6

Creation groans beneath the curse,
Beneath our sin’s reward.
We long to see the fall reversed,
Our blessed hope, our Lord.

Refrain:
Come quickly, Lord! We wait for You,
For Eden’s joys restored.
Return for us; make all things new;
Come quickly, Christ our Lord!

So weary of our trait’rous flesh—
Of sin we hate, yet crave—
We yearn to see temptation’s death,
Indwelling sin erased.

We want to hear the nations’ praise,
To join their glorious song.
“The Lamb is worthy!” voices raise
From ev’ry tribe and tongue!

We joy to fix our gaze on Christ,
Though now our view is dim.
We long for heaven’s grandest prize:
To see and be like Him!

_____

Copyright 2008 by Chris Anderson. All rights reserved.

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27 Responses

  1. Chris,
    Good song. One comment–the last line of the first stanza doesn’t seem to fit the thought process. Each stanza seems to focus fully on one aspect of the coming: stanza 1 – reversal of creation’s curse, stanza 2 – removal of sin, stanza 3 – praise singing, stanza 4 – Christ’s appearance. But the last line of the first stanza seems more in line with stanza 4 than 1.
    Perhaps, though, it may give a more complete picture the way it is for those who may sing only one stanza.
    Just a thought.

  2. That makes sense, Dan. I’ll think on it. Thanks.

    I’m not content yet with line 3 of stanza 3, either. I don’t want to change it much, but it’s a bit awkward as it is, I think.

  3. On stanza three, I think it depends on if you are thinking of Philippians 2 or parts of Isaiah and Jeremiah. If it’s Phil 2, I think the proclamation is “Christ is Lord”, though I wonder if they will yet admit “The Lord is Worthy”.

    FWIW

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. Even though it may need some tweaking, I like the thrust of it. Looking forward to a tune! Thanks for taking the time to put these hymns together Chris. They are greatly appreciated.

  5. Thanks for the help and encouragement, all. I think Dan’s point is particularly helpful, and there are other points which could use some tweaking. With that in mind, here’s take 202:

    Creation groans beneath the curse—
    Rebellion’s just reward.
    We long to see the fall reversed
    And Eden’s joys restored.

    Refrain:
    Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new!
    Redeem the church, Your bride.
    With longing eyes we look for You,
    for home is at Your side.

    So weary of our trait’rous flesh—
    Of sin we hate, yet crave—
    We yearn to see temptation’s death,
    Indwelling sin erased.

    We want to hear the nations sing,
    To join their joyous song.
    “The Lamb is worthy!” shouts will ring
    From ev’ry tribe and tongue!

    We joy to fix our gaze on Christ,
    Though now our view is dim.
    We long for heaven’s grandest prize:
    To see and be like Him!

    (Copyright 2008 by Chris Anderson. All rights reserved.)

    Again, your thoughts are welcome. Improved?

  6. I like the change to stanza 1. That looks good.

    I don’t know if I like the word redeem in the refrain. Yes, redeem can be used that way, but it gives pause since we associate redeem so much with the immediate redemption at salvation rather than with Christ’s second advent. I might use the word receive instead.

    As for stanza 3, I really think I like the original better. I’m not sure why you found it awkward. At least for me, it provided a more uplifting tone, while the revision reminded me too much of other songs saying similar things.

  7. Well, do voices “raise” or “rise”? I’m really not certain. It seems (off the top of my head) that raise requires voices to be a direct object rather than a subject, as in “Raise your voices.”

    Maybe I’m just nuts.

    If raise works and is accurate grammatically (er…syntactically?), I like it better, too.

  8. Well, yes, voices raise something (D.O.). But I took your line as a poetic restructure so that the voices raise the song, “The Lamb is Worthy!” from ev’ry tribe and tongue. In that sense, for example, it would be like voices raising a battle cry.
    I’m checking with my sister (English prof – BJU), and I’ll let you know.

  9. My wife is an English teacher (or was, she is not teaching currently). She writes poetry all the time. I’ll have her take a look at it also.

  10. Okay, the expert said that “voices raise” at the end of the line just won’t work. It’s too disconcerting with the expectation of “voices rise.” So, how about the following (assuming this stanza refers to Revelation 7).

    We long to hear the glorious cries
    And join the praising throng,
    “The Lamb is worthy!” voices rise
    From ev’ry tribe and tongue!

  11. I thought “raise” sounded a bit iffy.

    I like the changes you made, Dan. I may tweak them a bit, but I like “cries” and “rise” very much. Thanks for taking the time to help. What I write usually has the “fingerprints” of many on it.

  12. Now what about “throng” and “tongue” or “song” and “tongue”?

    They just don’t seem to make it with me. “throng” and “song” work, but the sound of “tongue” seems too far away.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  13. Don,
    Ever sing Jesus Shall Reign? Isaac Watts rhymes song and tongue.

    From Jesus Shall Reign, stanza 5:
    “People and realms of every tongue
    Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
    And infant voices shall proclaim
    Their early blessings on His Name.”

    Also, from Book 2, Hymn 34:
    “In vain we tune our formal songs,
    In vain we strive to rise;
    Hosannas languish on our tongues,
    And our devotion dies.”

    If Watts can do it, Chris is in good company. The basic rule is that flow and sense take precedence over perfect rhyme. Scan through your hymnbook and you’ll find dozens of examples of near-perfect rather than perfect rhymes.

    My favorite is the 3rd stanza of Amazing Grace — come and home?
    “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.”

    To me, this is harder on the ear than song and tongue, but I wouldn’t for the world want to change the sense of this verse for a more perfect rhyme. I think it’s the same in Chris’s 3rd stanza. I think you absolutely need song and tongue in there to fit the picture he presents. But, we’ll see; he’s the hymn writer.

  14. I think melodies mask imperfections in poetry. (See, we can even have controversy over postive posts like this!)

    For example, many of the songs put out by our crowd in recent years are, in my opinion, abominable poetry, but orchestration and melody cause us to miss it. And I say this of personal friends of mine, who I knew in the dorms, lo, those many years ago.

    However, one has to wade through a lot of average stuff to get the gold. Note how many of Newton’s hymns are still sung today… and note how many he wrote.

    That is not to say that I am categorizing Chris’ efforts negatively. His offerings here have been quite good both theologically and artistically, but that is only my plebian opinion!

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  15. Arguing poetry is way off the track here, but I’ll throw this out as my last word on the subject (last word because this sort of reaches the limits of my knowledge in poetry). Poetry’s main concern is communication of the imagination. I agree that many modern poets have changed that to “poetry’s ONLY concern is communication of the imagination” and consequently have destroyed form in their works. That’s bad poetry. But even in rhyming poetry the main concern is not rhyme. That has resulted in what we still call good poetry, but with unconventional rhyming patterns. For example there are rhymes known as half rhymes. Half rhyming words can be consonant rhymes:
    Farm – Some
    Lost – past

    Or they can be vowel rhymes:
    Fish – Sit
    Deaf– Lead

    Sounds weird, I know. But it is legitimate–and used by great poets in what are considered great works. That’s why “come” and “home” is a legitimate rhyme, and I can still sing Amazing Grace with my mind at peace.

  16. Well, I grant that such ‘half rhymes’ are used and I don’t want something to be artificial for sure (sort of like alliterated sermons). But many of those half-rhymes are jarring sounds nonetheless.

    We could go for the Hebrew style, of course, and just have ‘thought rhymes’ [Hebrew parallelism]. That works for me too.

    FWIW

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  17. Interesting conversation, guys. My random thoughts:

    Rhyming is important, but not nearly as important as precision. A lot of great hymns have “half-rhymes” that aren’t even noticed. Wesley (the gold standard, IMO) is about as consistent in attaining rhymes as anyone, but even he went for “blood” and “pursued” in And Can It Be and allowed several half-rhymes in Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (e.g. “come” and “womb,” or “Prince of Peace” and “righteousness,” etc.). No one finds those lines to be jarring. They’re just right.

    Rhyming isn’t hard. That’s the problem, I think. There are plenty of songs that have rhymes that are so simplistic and predictable that they’re downright silly, IMO. They can sound about as profound as Mary Had a Little Lamb.

    I think the kicker is this: is the author saying precisely what he wants to say, the way he wants to say it, or is he just settling? It’s tempting to settle for an easy rhyme or a not-quite-right half-rhyme, or even for a simplistic idea; finding just the right word or phrase that is both accurate and vivid is challenging. Settling for a quick fix is the enemy of good poetry, I think. The friends of good poetry? Work, relentlessness, patience, the willingness to start over, and feedback, among other things.

    The other challenge is to know how hard to push people theologically. For example, though “redeem” may make people stop and ask “why’s that there?” that may be a good thing. I want the texts to be accessible, but not necessarily on the first read. People should get more of the significance of the text when they return to it, I think. Making them ponder why a certain word was chosen can be very edifying for them, I think, as long as it’s not overdone.

    But what do I know? :) I’m not kidding.

    I’ll tell you, though, searching for just the right idea or phrase or word is a great boon to biblical meditation. It makes you really think about what a biblical text means and how it can be expressed with accuracy and artistry. It’s been a great spiritual discipline for me. And it’s certainly made me more thoughtful when I’m singing the texts of others.

    FWIW.

  18. Hey, Chris,

    “No one finds those lines to be jarring.” Ahem. Have you talked to everyone on this point??

    I don’t want to distract from what you are doing. My point on your stanza 3 is that I found the half rhyme not to work for me (how’s that for a post modern complaint!).

    I can even conceive of a situation where a poet deliberately chooses a half rhyme or no rhyme to make a point. But isn’t that a deviation from a form that makes a point about the form?

    Anyway, I appreciate your working on this type of stuff and have thought (and heard others say) that the Lord is using these efforts as a blessing to His church.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  19. Good comments, Chris.

  20. Hello, Chris and others,

    I was once Chris’s English teacher, and I couldn’t be more proud of a former student. Right now, I’m responding to the discussion just to say what a thrill it is to see such intelligent discussion of Christian poetry.

    Also, Chris, you are in good company in what you say about how poetry helps you to meditate on Scripture. Do you remember Edward Taylor, the Colonial preacher and poet? He wrote more than 200 meditations in verse as he was preparing his own heart for communion.

    I’ll actually comment on the poem later. I need to read it and think about it a bit.

    Luanne

  21. Bro Chris,
    This is shaping up nicely…and this was a fun conversation for me to read as well.

    I presented “My Jesus Fair” in my session at the ladies retreat yesterday. It was very well-received. An accomplished pianist/lyricist friend of mine accompanied us beautifully as we all sang. There was nothing but a worshipful hush when we finished. You blessed many hearts and lifted them far beyond the 8,600 ft elevation there on that mountain. =)

    Thanks for your careful, thoughtful, prayerful work. God was glorified. I know that’s your desire.

  22. Thank you, friends, for your encouraging words. Psalm 115:1!

    Here’s version 203, followed by some more requests for help for the few who are so inclined:

    Creation groans beneath the curse—
    Rebellion’s just reward.
    We long to see the fall reversed
    And Eden’s joys restored.

    Refrain:
    Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new!
    Redeem the church, Your bride.
    With longing eyes we look for You,
    for home is at Your side.

    So weary of our trait’rous flesh—
    Of sin we hate, yet crave—
    We yearn to see temptation’s death,
    Indwelling sin erased.

    We want to hear the joyous cries
    And join the ransomed throng;
    “The Lamb is worthy!” praise will rise
    From ev’ry tribe and tongue!

    We joy to fix our gaze on Christ,
    Though now our view is dim.
    We long for heaven’s grandest prize:
    To see and be like Him!

    _____

    Lingering questions:
    * Overall punctuation. Any problems, Doc? :)

    * In the refrain, is it stronger to say “with longing eyes we look to/for(?) You” or to say “with longing hope we wait for You”?

    * Also in the refrain, would it be better to say: “We look for You. Our home is by your side”? Or shall I keep it one sentence with “for”? I think “our” is stronger, but “for” shows the reason behind our expectancy and keeps it from having a bunch of short, choppy sentences. Thoughts?

    * “…home is at Your side” or “by Your side”?

    Again, thanks. I usually get help in private vs. on my blog, but this has been very profitable!

  23. Looking pretty good.
    Concerning your lingering questions:
    1. I think the punctuation looks good except maybe no comma in the refrain at the end of the 3rd line.
    2. I like “longing eyes” better than “longing hope.”
    3. Keep “for home” instead of “Our home.” Much better flow.
    4. Seems that “at” or “by” would both work. I like “at.”

    Two other suggestions:
    1. In the refrain 3rd line, how about changing “look” to “watch.” “Watch” seems to indicate more expectation.
    2. Here’s a biggy that your initial reaction may be no, but think about this. In the 3rd stanza, what do you think about swapping the first two lines with the last two? The reason I suggest this is that each of the other stanzas begin the second couplet with “We long,” “We yearn,” and “We long.” It would provide greater parallelism in the stanzas if the third stanza followed this convention with “We want” beginning the 3rd line. And, if so, you might then change “the joyous cries” to “those joyous cries.”

  24. I like Dan’s suggestions…esp. using “watch”, which echoes the scriptures and also appropriately conveys the eagerness of the Bride. I even like the “biggie” suggestion…maybe it is just my administrative bent for organization. =)

  25. I like “watch,” too. It combines the ideas of wait and look perfectly.

    I’m not convinced on the order change, though. I like the climax of ending that verse with the actual worship and worshipers, I think.

  26. As to 3rd stanza–hmm…yes, but…
    The whole song is about our involvement with the 2nd coming, the other verses highlight our involvement in the second couplet–just seems more natural to reverse. But again, you’re the experienced hymnwriter. I think it’s a good hymn whichever way you go.

  27. Hi Chris,
    I’m delighted to see this coming along! We have used all your hymns save one at this point (I Love Your Church will be sung this month to Dan Forrest’s Tune for “All I Find in You” as a duet).

    Thoughts on 3rd stanza–if you are keeping it…

    So weary of our trait’rous flesh—
    Of sin we hate, yet crave—
    We yearn to see temptation’s death,
    O [or] Lord cast it in the grave!

    Further thoughts on that theme–is it possible to incorporate the idea that our chief enemies of “the world’s way of thinking,” “our flesh,” and “Satan” will one day be destroyed? It seems you have addressed the flesh and Satan’s temptations already… just my 1 cent…

    I thank God for His work in you to express His grace this way!

    For His Cause and Glory Alone,

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