Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending

‘Veni Domine Jesu’ – Salvador Dali

Jesus hasn’t returned yet and Advent calls us to wonder why that is.  While Christmas celebrates the wonder and meakness of the Incarnation.  Advent is a time to cry out. A time to trim the wicks and ready oneself for the final battle of all things.  Advent is a time to make a joyful noise so loud that the angelic hosts are roused in jealousy of our Christ infused praise. Here are a few advent hymns that reorient our hearts and minds to the true call of this season. Maranatha.

Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending

(Zac Hicks arr)
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(Bruce Benedict arr)
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(The Welcome Wagon arr)
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(Matthew Smith – RUF arr)
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(JG Hymns arr.)
mp3 | info

This hymn was originally written John Cennick, a friend of John and Charles Wesley, as “Lo! he cometh, countless trumpets blow before his bloody sign!” Cennick’s hymn was published in his Collection (1752). Charles Wesley completely rewrote the text and published his version in Hymns of Intercession for all Mankind (1758) with the title “Thy Kingdom Come” (changed to “The Second Advent” in other editions).  In the spirit of Charles’s adaptation I borrowed the melody from Pheobe Knapp’s “Assurance” and used it for the verses of Lo! He Comes adding my own refrain.

O Quickly Come Dread Judge of All (Luke Morton arr.)
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3 thoughts on “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending

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  1. Thanks for the inclusion, Cardiphonia! We’ll be singing it this Sunday. Here’s the worship note (a side column explanation) we’ll be putting in our order of worship:

    “Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending” is one of the more ominous hymns ever written, speaking of a subject too rarely discussed—the dreadful and awesome day of Christ’s return to earth. We have used this hymn in past Advent Lessons & Carols services because it ties Christ’s first advent with His second. The hymn is a sober reminder that, in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, Christ “shall come to judge the quick and the dead” when He returns…and we need to be sure that we will fall on the right side of His wrath (the only way to do that is to put our faith in the righteous life and sacrifice of Jesus Himself). We get so caught up in this world that we often forget to live as forward-looking Christians:

    “Every eye shall now behold Him
    Robed in dreadful majesty.”

    And those who rejected Him,

    “Deeply wailing,
    Shall the true Messiah see.”

    We won’t see Jesus in meekness anymore. We will see Him as He truly has always been—reigning in all power and glory. For the Christ-follower, this is a glorious day. For the one who rejects Christ, it is a fearful day. Lord, have mercy.

  2. Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. Thanks for some excellent comments on John Cennick’s much revised hymn. The Lichfield Cathedral Choir’s rendition seems to be popular on a number of blogs. However, to me, the tune used (Helmsley) conveys a restful, almost pastoral mood, which is at odds with the dramatic action of the second coming as described by Matthew (Matt. 24:29-31). My personal preference is Regent Square, a sturdy tune that better reflects the text.

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