Here we see the magnificent Calvary outside the Italian Chapel on Orkney. Let us gaze on this sign as we remember the words of the Lord recorded in the gospel according to Matthew, 'you must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.' You may also wish to listen to the first 2 verses of my favourite Advent hymn which is sung to the glorious tune 'Helmsley'.
Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ the King returns to reign.
Every eye shall now behold him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at nought and sold him,
pierced, and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshipers;
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
gaze we on those glorious scars!
Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory;
claim the kingdom for thine own:
O come quickly, O come quickly, O come quickly,
Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!
Words: John Cennick (1718-1755), 1752;
as altered by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), 1758.
Was the organist really thinking of the words when he pulled the tuba out on verse 2? Surely he should have saved it for verse 4!
Happy New Year!