Tuesday, October 19, 2021

313. John the Baptist Hymn

This hymn, designed to accompany an Advent midweek sermon series that I think would be great idea (although I don't have a particular one in mind), falls under the rubric "Use the first and last stanza each week and insert the relevant pair of stanzas in between." Bits of it could also be used for various feasts relating to John. And by the way, I've decided this will be the last new hymn added to Edifying Hymns, so I can get that book out at last, perhaps within the next month or two. I've been making some "final" layout decisions today, including exactly what page this hymn will go on, moving a few hymns around to avoid having page breaks separate stanzas of a hymn, and replacing placeholder hymn numbers with the real deal. I'm excited! But let's focus here. The tune I have in mind for this hymn is PUER NOBIS NASCITUR (the tune my mind associates with "On Jordan's bank the baptist's cry").
With John, the messenger foretold,
Stamped from Elijah's prophet mold,
The church beholds the Lamb whose blood
Absorbs us in the grace of God.

(The young baptist)
For doubting that such child would come,
His priestly father was struck dumb.
From barren soil and stricken well
God called a seer to Israel.

Unborn, John knew the mother's voice
Of Him in whom the saints rejoice.
His own her infant's leap perceived
And, in the Spirit, she believed.

(The forerunner)
Soft garments and rich food he scorned
While John of pending judgment warned.
He bade the crowd, ere time was spent,
To bathe in Jordan and repent.

"For after me comes One," he said,
"Whose edge and flame the fruitless dread."
Of Christ John also said, "Behold!
He bears the sin of all the world!"

(The baptizer)
When Jesus, taking up His task,
Saw fit the baptist's rite to ask,
He thus perfected righteousness
And gave all water pow'r to bless.

Then Jesus from the water strode;
The Father spoke; the Spirit showed;
And John at last knew Christ to own
God's fullness as His own dear Son.

(On the decrease)
John, knowing that he must recede
As word of Jesus spread with speed,
Yet bore bold witness, till the wife
Of Herod bargained for his life.

Cut off before he saw the plan
Fulfilled, regarding which he ran,
That new Elijah showed he knew:
God's promises are sure and true.

(Concluding stanza)
Now John, the final measure giv'n,
Is our forerunner into heav'n
Where, ev'ry blemish washed away,
We'll see the Lamb's triumphal day.

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