Hail to the Lord’s Anointed 1
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
Great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed,
His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free;
to take away transgressions,
and rule in equity.
Based on the 72nd Psalm and written by James Montgomery in 1821, this hymn has become a seasonal favorite. As a messianic prophecy, also considered a prayer, the intent is to point us to what is ahead. Bursting forth with hopefulness, it sets our imaginations on a collision course with the real. The prophecy found fulfillment in the form of a baby and, as we waited for the birth of that promise, we hold out with patience and certainty His coming again. This time it will be even more glorious. No longer will we be subject to the ways of a fallen and broken world. The time of imprisonment will be no more. True joy will be found as we encounter the One who is and in Him find affirmation of who we are and to whom we belong. No longer floundering in our waywardness, our purpose will be revealed as we are renewed in God’s image. Unfortunately, the process of preparation for this day can be arduous at best, as freedom perceived is inferior to actual emancipation.
As captives, we long for the day of being set free. We are not alone. Our Hebrew forebears remind us how difficult waiting can be. Impatience takes over and we become deaf to the one true voice. Overtaken, the conscious and unconscious voice of another enslaves us, and we are led astray. The projection of who we are and who we should be blinds us, denying ourselves the truth. Just when all seems hopeless, the season of Advent reminds us it is not. Jesus’ birth and His return are keys to our self-imposed prison cell. As history teaches us, the will of the Father reigns—and will reign—supreme.
I find this season of preparation a time of much needed relief. If orchestrated properly, it can be an escape from the world as we know it to the world as God knows it. Need further proof? Allow yourself to enter into the world of a child and be amazed by wonder and their awe. The choice is yours.
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, now and fore ever. Amen.
(BCP, Fourth Sunday of Advent, p.212)