Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

This is one of my favorite Advent hymns. I love the minor tonality of it, the yearning it calls up, the plea. This rendition is a new one for me. Originally I picked out one sung by the Kings College choir, which is lovely, but got a little complicated for me. This one adds lovely counterpoint and harmony while keeping the simplicity of the hymn. The alto sings the melody. Such lovely low tones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWTdLD5w92c


I remember processing (walking up to the altar) with the choir while singing this hymn, and then, later, when I wasn't able to process myself, singing from the choir loft while watching the choir process to the altar. Two different ways to experience this powerful hymn. I revel in the silence.


Hymn Story:

"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" is derived from the "Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn" from the Litany of St. James, written during the 4th century. The Cherubic Hymn is to be used at the presentation of the bread and wine at the Offertory. It was incorporated into the Holy Week celebration of the Constantinopolitan Church at some point after the 8th century. It is used on St. James Day, October 23. Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem recite it on the Sunday after Christmas, or as part of the Christmas Eve service. The Greek original is also found in the Liturgy of St. Basil as the Tropaion for Holy Saturday morning. Although the hymn can be used as a communion hymn any time of the year, it is a beautiful advent hymn, pointing us to stand in awe as the King of kings and Lord of lords descends to earth to vanquish the powers of hell. "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" first appeared in Lyra Eucharistica and The English Hymnal in 1906, with the tune PICARDY, arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams. You can read more facts about this hymn at songsandhymns.org


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