Songs for Luke – Dawning Light of Our Salvation – Luke 1

‘The Angel Appearing to Zacharias’ by William Blake

This is the last of the Songs for Luke that I contributed too – working with my super talented friend Wendell Kimbrough.  Wendell may be my favorite lyrics writer at the moment.  I was blown away by his original contribution to our Pentecost Compilation.  You can listen and download that song for free HERE.  Wendell leads music at Church of the Advent in DC and tours frequently supporting his own solo singer/songwriter work. Listen to that at Noisetrade.

Wendell’s song for Luke was inspired by a suggestion from his pastor who was lamenting the lack of contemporary versions of the Benedictus to sing at Advent.  The Benedictus being just a fancy way of referring to the Song of Zechariah in Luke 1:68-79.

HERE are a few other versions of the Benedictus (Song of Zechariah) that I have collected.

Wendell wrote the first draft of the lyrics and included a bridge from Isaiah 40.  I took a first pass at a melody and suggested a few lyric changes.  After that we went back and forth 4 or 5 more times making tweaks to lyrics and melody to make it as simple and singable as possible.  We hope you enjoy!

Dawning Light of Our Salvation
mp3 demo | chart | leadsheet

1. Long in darkness Israel wandered;
Long in mortal shadows, we
Walked in bondage and self-pity,
Trod in paths of sin and grief.
In the prophets’ words He told us,
Long the God of Israel spoke;
He alone in strength would save us
From the hands of all our foes.

2. He shall raise a mighty Savior;
Born of David’s lineage, He
Comes in cov’nant love to claim us
From our sins to set us free.
Light to those who dwell in darkness
Life to those from death who flee
Joy unto the earth, and gladness,
To your pathways dawning peace!

Every valley be exalted!
Every mountain be made plane!
Crooked ways repent and straighten;
All creation bend in praise!

3.  Jesus, Lord, and mighty Savior,
David’s Son and yet his King,
Dawning light of our salvation,
Of your saving pow’r we sing!
Stand, Oh lame, and dance ye broken,
Know the Savior’s healing grace;
Come, Oh deaf and hear him singing;
Turn, Oh blind, behold his face!


Wendell Kimbrough and Bruce Benedict, 2012

4 thoughts on “Songs for Luke – Dawning Light of Our Salvation – Luke 1

Add yours

  1. Great song! Its chief strength, to me, is its singability. Nice work. I love its simplicity. Sometimes we work so hard to make something utterly unique, that we forget the basic ingredients of a good congregational song. I think you all capture those things.

    Two thoughts (just my thoughts!): (1) Call the Bridge a “Chorus” or “Refrain” for that is what it sounds like; (2) Verse 3’s “Stand, Oh lame, and dance ye broken” could be “Stand, O lame, and dance, ye mourners” to hearken to the mourning to dancing theme? Mourning vs. dancing seems to be a more fitting contrast than broken to dancing…but I could see why you’d push back. “Broken” is more evocative. Not sure about that one, but I throw it out there. “Weepers” another option?

    And, my understanding is that “Oh” is an exclamation, while “O” is vocative/direct address. It’s the difference between:

    “Oh, how I love your law” (Ps 119:97) [exclamation]
    “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name” (Ps 8:9) [vocative/direct address]

    So, it would be, “O lame,” “O blind,” and “O deaf.”

    Again, great song!


    1. Zac, you da man. Thanks for the thoughts and the “O” vs “Oh” clarification. And yeah, it is more like a refrain. My only apprehension about calling it a chorus or refrain was that I couldn’t quite see singing it after verse 1. But maybe it can still be a chorus/refrain and just be a v.v.c.v.c format. “Bridge” didn’t seem quite right either. : ) Thanks for the feedback.

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