Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Voice in the Wilderness


In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea... the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book
of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
❧ Luke 3:1-6


I really love this hymn, written in 1925 to celebrate the coming together of Canadian Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians to form one united church. The only two churches I know of that sing it these days are the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ, which—interestingly—entered full communion with each other in 2015. There's a Voice in the Wilderness used to be in the United Methodist Church using the tune Hereford, but it's not in their most recent hymnal. The two United Churches, however, have always sung it to Ascension (a much lovelier tune).