In seminary, I took a class from then-provost-now-president Richard Mouw. He began every class with a meditation on and then singing of a hymn, which he prefaced with the statement that much of the best theology of the history of the church is archived in our hymnody. (I could add that some of the church’s worst theology is also catalogued there.)
Sure, “A Mighty Fortress” is good, if you’re into that kind of thing. And there’s a plethora of Easter hymns that joyously proclaim resurrection. But I’ve always thought that the hymns of Advent are the most theologically articulate and nuanced in the corpus of hymnody.
That was reaffirmed to me last night when, breaking from the tradition of not singing cover songs, we at Solomon’s Porch sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” in which we find this beautiful verse:
O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.
I know that many of you are writing posts for the Advent #progGOD Challenge. Well, to prime the theological pump, I invite you to post in the comment section a stanza from an Advent hymn that you find particularly beautiful and/or theologically noteworthy.