Just stop and pay attention to this most splendid of hymns. If you do not know what makes a good hymn, stop and analyze this. Firstly , the poetry is deeply theological, beautiful and moving. Second, the hymn tune matches the words perfectly. It is solemn, majestic and stirring. Third, the hymn and the words are accessible to anyone and singable by all. Fourth, it is full of Christian truth. It catechizes. Fifth, it fits with the liturgy of the day for Advent.
I have come across some traditionalist Catholics who are “purists” and reject hymns because they are “Protestant”. What ignorance! How sad to block out these great contributions to the worship of the Lord. Oh yes, I understand the liturgical purity of the Roman rite and that hymns “intrude” and so forth and so on, but this hymn for Advent, written by one of the sweetest and most talented of Christians–Charles Wesley.
Note the words as you listen to this English cathedral choir sing:
Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
once for favored sinners slain;
thousand, thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train.
God appears on earth to reign.
2 Ev’ry eye shall now behold him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold him,
pierced, and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
3. The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture,
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
4. Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow’r and glory,
claim the kingdom for thine own.
O come quickly, O come quickly;
alleluia! come, Lord, come.