Musical Advent Calendar – Day 8

E’en So Lord Jesus, Quickly Come

Today’s offering is an a cappella motet based on the 22nd chapter of Revelation, composed by Paul Manz (1919-2009) in 1953. The piece has quite an emotional back story: Paul and his wife Ruth were sitting at the bed-side of their gravely ill son, praying to God for his recovery. According to Ruth, “I think we’d reached the point where we felt that time was certainly running out so we committed it to the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus quickly come’. . .” Some time before, she had drafted a text to be used for a composition by her husband, and as they kept vigil over their son, Paul began to compose the piece. Thankfully, the boy recovered – which the Manz family attributed to the answering of their prayers – and the piece went on to become a standard part of the Advent and Christmas season choral repertoire of the late 20th century. 

The emotional power of people in a pit of desperation calling out to Jesus for help comes through even all these years later, as you hear in the recording, sung here for us by the MLUMC compline singers. 

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell within
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below, for Christ is coming soon;
E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more: they need no light nor lamp nor sun,  for Christ will be their all.

– Rev. 22:5, as paraphrased by Paul and Ruth Manz

Mitchell Stecker, Director of Music