Friday, December 13, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Let Freedom's Bells Resound

My new hymn for this week seeks to fill a gap in our English hymnography. We have wonderful Christmas hymns relating to most parts and themes of the nativity story: the shepherds, the wise men, the birth in the stable, etc. However, there's at least one major omission: we have no hymns that really seek to capture Matthew's clear emphasis on Jesus' birth as a recapitulation of the Exodus events (highlighting the parallels between Herod's reaction and Pharaoh's, the fact that Jesus' family goes down into Egypt and comes back up, and so on). So this hymn follows that Matthean nativity theme, glorifying Christ as our new deliverer, sent to set us free. The tune is that of "Come, Christians, Join to Sing." Verses 2 and 3 below speak specifically about the events that Matthew uses to point out the parallels, but if worship leaders prefer a more general treatment (or don't want to sing about "Herod's wicked sword"), it would be perfectly fine to sing only verses 1, 4, and 5.

Let Freedom's Bells Resound

Let freedom's bells resound
     Alleluia, amen!
Hope in the dark we've found
     Alleluia, amen!
Jesus was born for us
Leading our exodus
In him we place our trust
     Alleluia, amen!

Like Moses, was our King
     Alleluia, amen!
Born in the midst of pain
     Alleluia, amen!
By grace our infant Lord
Escaped the wrath outpoured
Of Herod's wicked sword
     Alleluia, amen!

Then through the wilderness
     Alleluia, amen!
Mary and Joseph went
     Alleluia, amen!
With Jesus, they retraced
Israel's ancient way
From slavery into grace
     Alleluia, amen!

God heard his people's cry
     Alleluia, amen!
Leaving us not to die
     Alleluia, amen!
He made a way for us
From manger to the cross
Christ has delivered us
     Alleluia, amen!

Praise our Redeemer come
     Alleluia, amen!
Jesus, the Holy One
     Alleluia, amen!
We, from sin's slavery
Now live in liberty
Praise him who set us free
     Alleluia, amen!

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