Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Keep Silence

Once, when I was a child, Christmas Day fell on a Sunday and went to worship service as we normally did. We went to a mainline church and were some of the few who were there. Instead of regular service we chose hymns as a congregation.

Someone asked for "Let all mortal flesh keep silence." We sang it and I fell in love.

The haunting melody, the word pairings, the ideas, the alleluias at the end, the age of the hymn. I love everything about the hymn; it is my very favorite.

For word pairings, I love "mortal flesh" "keep silence" "ponder nothing earthly minded" "full homage to demand" ... and that's in the first verse!

We never sang it at that church again.

Jason and I married in December (next Wednesday, we'll celebrate 15 years!) and I asked for it to be played during the prelude to our wedding. The organist said, as an Advent hymn, that's perfect. She worked it in.

When we came to our current church, and our pastor came, we started to sing it somewhat regularly for  Communion Hymn. The second verse talks about how he gives himself for heavenly food.

N-boy has long picked out the tune on the piano and riffed on it, knowing that I love the music so much. Now, he is learning it on organ. He played it several times during his practice session on Tuesday, and I have to say, this is a tune meant to be played on an organ with the depth and vitality of the tune; the melancholic, yet restrained joy in the words.

Fernando Ortega, on one of my favorite Christmas albums, sings an achingly beautiful version. You can hear it on YouTube (not a huge fan of the Second Commandment breaking in the video).

Do you sing this in your congregation?






8 comments:

  1. Love that hymn. Last year we listened to the version by Red Mountain Music: https://youtu.be/Zz4LBjysReA

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    1. I haven't yet, but will today! Thanks, Carol :)

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  2. Beautiful. Hymns are so full of truth and beauty.

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    1. I love how there is so much theological depth and any repetition is purposeful in hymns.

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  3. Happy 15th anniversary! I wanted to get married in December with a candlelight wedding. We got married in June instead. Oh, well. I got the groom I wanted. ;)

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    1. I wanted to get married in May with blue bridesmaid dreses and calla lillies. But we got engaged in February, December was better for planning purposes. And it was lovely.

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  4. We don't sing it much at church, but we've sung it many times together as a family. I like Fernando Ortega's version too.

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    1. Thanks for you comment. Glad to have you here.

      We sang it on Sunday before the Lord's Supper this year.

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