The prophets’ voice comes down the years
Source: Singing the Faith: 162
Words: Alan Hinton
Music: “St Matthew” by William Croft
Metre: 86.86.D. Double Common Metre
Alan Hinton says that he usually writes hymns to tie in with the Bible readings set for specific Sundays in the Lectionary. “The prophets’ voice comes down the years” was written for Advent 2, Year A (which focusses on the Gospel of Matthew).
The readings for that Sunday are: Isaiah 11: 1–10, Romans 15: 4–13 and Matthew 3: 1–12. Alan’s hymn picks up the way that Isaiah has written for his day but his themes are taken up in different ways by John the Baptist and Paul. “Thus we think about the community of prophets down the ages by speaking in the plural of the prophets’ voice not the prophet’s voice”, Alan concludes. “John’s criticism of those of Abraham’s children who rely on the prophesy of the past shows the need for re-interpretation in each age and we end up with the Advent theme of seeing Jesus as the climax of the prophetic process.”
The lectionary has often provided a useful stimulus for Alan’s poetic imagination. “While I have occasionally written a general hymn I prefer the discipline of a particular purpose. I’m happy to write to order and have produced hymns for several conferences or meetings etc, but the Lectionary is excellent for my purposes. I covered about two thirds of the Sundays before my health deteriorated. I really should get back to work and try to finish it.”