"Let All Mortal Flesh"

David Bast

READ : Isaiah 6:1-6

Let all God's angels worship him. (Heb. 1:6)

With this Christmas hymn we are brought into the worship of the ancient church. “Let All Mortal Flesh” was originally written in Greek and is found in the Liturgy of St. James, which may go all the way back to the early church in Jerusalem. It certainly breathes the awe and sense of mystery that is associated with Eastern Orthodoxy.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,

And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly minded,

For with blessing in His hand,

Christ our God to earth descendeth,

Our full homage to demand.

The Nicene Creed speaks of the Son as “God from God, Light from Light.” So does this hymn, with the added thought that all the angels of heaven rise to honor and accompany him—clearing his path, so to speak—as Christ descends to earth to take on human flesh in order to defeat the powers of darkness.

Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way,

As the Light of light descendeth

From the realms of endless day,

That the powers of hell may vanish

As the darkness clears away.

In Isaiah's vision the angels surround God with praise: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (v. 3). “Let All Mortal Flesh” echoes that scene, but the cherubim and seraphim sing their praise to the incarnate Son.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph;

Cherubim, with sleepless eye,

Veil their faces to the presence,

As with ceaseless voice they cry:

Alleluia, Alleluia

Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Audio Link: http://goo.gl/oCZo91


We worship you, Jesus, Son of God.