Let All Dying Flesh Keep Silence, because . . .

. . . that’s the only kind of flesh there is! I love this very ancient song. We sing this song every Christmas at our church. It “is an ancient chant of Eucharistic devotion based on words from Habakkuk 2:20, “Let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hebrew: הַ֥ס מִפָּנָ֖יו כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץhas mippanaw kol ha-erets). The original was composed in Greek as a Cherubic Hymn for the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James;[1] it probably antedates the rest of the liturgy and goes back at least to AD 275, with local churches adopting arrangements in Syriac. In modern times, the Ralph Vaughan Williams arrangement of a translation from the Greek by Gerard Moultrie to the tune of “Picardy“, a French medieval folk melody, popularized the hymn among other Christian congregations” – wikipedia:)

Here are the lyrics, and my feeble attempt to play. The lyrics are profound and biblical. The author believed that the one born of Mary was, and is, the one of Isaiah 6 – Yahweh!, the Eternal God who came in flesh. And so do I. Enjoy!

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the powers of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

 

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