This plainsong hymn comes from 8th Century France and reminded people of the Kingship of Christ in the face of the kingship of earthly sovereigns. Sung at coronations it might have been a wee bit subversive.
Revelation 11: 15 – 18
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.’
Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshipped God, singing,
‘We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants,[b] the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’
Christ conquers, Christ is King, Christ is the Lord.
O Christ hear us, to the Holy Church of God, uniting souls across the divisions of the nations: perpetual peace!
When we worship we join with the hosts of heaven – the elders seated in God’s presence are moved to prostrate themselves to acknowledge God’s power and authority as the time of judgement arrives We may flinch at the military sounding language. However the strong holy leadership of God is meant to be reflected in human leadership.
In this year, we have been reminded that what affects one, affects us all.
We have seen how good it is when:
international cooperation in medical research has hastened vaccine research & development;
where we have glimpsed the possibility to live simpler and more fruitful lives;
when we have been reminded of the preciousness of life and relationships;
when we realised a little more the need for perpetual peace.
We long for wrong to be punished, for faith to be vindicated and rewarded. Blue skies and birdsong have brought greater understanding of the effect we have on our beautiful planet.
The song of the elders reminds us of the Judgement that awaits those who mistreat it.
“What shall we do to hasten the time, the time that shall surely be, when the earth shall be full of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea”
We can join our prayers with the hosts of heaven and work to bring about peace, unity and shalom. In so doing we align ourselves with the purposes of God.
May all I say and all I think be in harmony with thee, God within me, God beyond me, maker of the trees. Amen. – Chinook prayer, Pacific Northwest Coast, North America