Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wake, Awake For Night Is Flying



 Wake, awake, for night is flying,
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices,
And at the thrilling cry rejoices:
Come forth, ye virgins, night is past!
The Bridegroom comes, awake,
Your lamps with gladness take;
And for His marriage-feast prepare,
For ye must go to meet Him there.
 Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing,
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all-glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious,
Her Star is risen, her Light is come!
Ah come, Thou blessed Lord,
O Jesus, Son of God,
We follow till the halls we see
Where Thou hast bid us sup with Thee!

 Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
And men and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal's clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear
Hath yet attain'd to hear
What there is ours,
But we rejoice, and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.
When I learned of the title for the Harper Lee book to be released this summer, I also thought it reminded me of a hymn.  I thought of it!  It is "Awake, Awake, For Night Is Flying".  A lovely hymn, I think it sounds best on the organ.
 It was written in the late 1500's by a Lutheran pastor by the name of  Phillip Nicolai in Germany.  This was during the time of the plague and in his small village, 1300 died.  He wrote a book of meditations (The Mirror of Joy) to comfort his parishioners and added this hymn to it.
Although he wrote both the words and music, the arrangement and harmony is by J. S. Bach,  and by his association with it, brought attention to the song. 


  1. Beautiful song and picture to go along with it!

    1. Thanks! And that photo is one of our sunrises from our front door.

  2. I used to play the organ many, many moons ago. Beautiful. And, seriously, what about that Harper Lee book? I'm wondering if the drama surrounding the announcement is made up or real. Rumors abound.

    1. Oh, I wish I could play the piano or organ, what a gift.
      I don't know, I do admit that I wonder about it too but still, I am grateful that we will get to read all of her story.

  3. Ahh Bach, you glorious bastard you. That is a really great hymn. I've always enjoyed hymns for some reason. Something about them just appeals to me. I think the grand nature of an entire church/choir singing along to the sounds of an organ is part of the appeal.

    1. Bach's music, "All to the glory of God alone".
      You should hear the organist at our church! And although our choir is small, the voices are strong and mighty.

  4. So beautiful, a nice pause to a busy day, to stop and hear it.

  5. The organ is the worst musical instrument ever made, bar the tambourine obviously!
    Much better with a piano!

    1. What! You must have been around some organs that were out of tune or something. The organ is the best for Anglican hymns.
      I do love the piano also, but for a stirring hymn, the organ is best.

  6. Thank you for printing out the words because I couldn't make out the lyrics from the video.

    1. Wish I could have found a better video. The recording is not that great, but it was the best I could find!

  7. Replies
    1. Good, glad you liked it!
      And bless you and your new wife!

  8. It makes me think a lot of things. I love the organ and the music of the 1500's. The organ was the original "synthesizer". I am also reminded of the tradition of the Anglicans: "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness".

    1. Thank you, Dennis! I see that is from Psalms, and I thank you for leaving this comment.

  9. I'm not familiar with that hymn - it is beautiful - but I do hope to be very familiar with Harper Lee's book after it's released.

    1. Glad to share it with you. And like you, I hope to know have that book this summer!

  10. "Sleepers, Awake!" is one of my most favourite Bach cantatas but I never knew before that the melody was written by another. Thanks for the info! It's a magnificent piece of work.