Throughout this 2015 Advent season, the Sojourn family of churches has come together to record a series of Advent hymns for your enjoyment and edification. Each Thursday, we’ll be releasing one song together with a blog post.
This week’s release is a reworking of an ancient hymn titled O Savior of Our Fallen Race (c. 6th century), originally composed in Latin. The lyrics borrow themes from the Nicene Creed (325 AD) and were written as a prayer entreating the Lord to grant remembrance during the Advent season and beckoning the Redeemer to return and restore His people.
Even as this song brings the gospel of grace to remembrance, the lyrics also serve as a confessional lament on behalf of “our fallen race.” The Sojourn liturgy (the structure of our gathered worship) is meant to walk us through the gospel narrative every Sunday. Accordingly, our liturgy features a time of confession because (1) repentance is an essential, ongoing component of the Christian life, and (2) the bad news of our fallenness presents the appropriate backdrop for the good news of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on our behalf.
"Some of us become Christians and just go on our merry way, never thinking of sin, while others fixate on our failings and suffer from despair. One person feels no conviction of sin; the other person feels no relief from sin. Neither of these habits should mark the Christian. The Christian should often feel conviction, confess, and be cleansed." — Kevin DeYoung
As Christians, we never confess without hope: O Jesus, very Light of light, our constant star in sin’s deep night. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In a culture that avoids talk of sin and culpability, regular prayers of confession foster honesty and openness before God and others. And like the lyrics below, regular confession deepens our longing for the return of Christ.
O Savior of our fallen race,
O Brightness of the Father’s face,
O Son who shared the Father’s might,
Before the world knew day or night,
O Jesus, very Light of light,
Our constant star in sin’s deep night,
Now hear the prayers Your people pray,
Throughout the world this holy day.
Remind us, Lord, of life and grace,
How once, to save our fallen race
You put our human vesture on,
And came to us as Mary’s son.
Today, as year by year its light
Brings to our world a promise bright,
One precious truth outshines the sun,
Salvation comes from You alone.
For from the Father’s throne You came,
His banished children to reclaim,
And earth and sea and sky revere,
The love of Him who sent You here,
And we are jubilant today,
For You have washed our guilt away.
O hear the glad new song we sing,
On this, the birth of Christ our King!
O Savior of our fallen race,
The world will see Your radiant face,
For You who came to us before,
Will come again and all restore.
Let songs of praise Your name adorn,
O Christ, Redeemer, virgin-born,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Spirit evermore.