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Reflections from the Gloria Dei Choir

In our Psalm today, we sing together asking the Lord to enter, our “King of glory.” For our Presentation anthem, we sing “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns” in the same anticipation. This arrangement was written by David N. Johnson (1922-1987), who was an American organist, composer, and educator. A familiar hymn, the text goes from the anticipation of Christ coming as a child through his death and resurrection. In this arrangement, the choir begins very quietly, singing in unison, then harmonies are added in the background without words, and finally it builds to a strong forte when we describe the resurrection. When we return to the original text, “The King shall come,” it is triumphant with the confidence of knowing that our Savior did come, that our Savior is Lord, and that He is King of Kings. A calm and peaceful solo melody on the organ begins and ends the piece.

Love divine, all loves excelling,

Joy of heav’n to earth come down.

Fix in us thy humble dwelling,

All they faithful mercies crown!

Jesus, thou art all compassion,

Pure, unbounded love thou art;

Visit us with thy salvation,

Enter ev’ry trembling heart…

Come almighty to deliver,

Let us all thy life receive;

Suddenly return, and never,

Nevermore thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

Serve thee as thy hosts above,

Pray and praise thee without ceasing,

Glory in thy perfect love…

What a perfect prayer for the last Sunday of Advent, as we wait for the joy of heaven, Christ, to come down to earth, to fix in us a humble dwelling, as was the womb of the virgin, and as was also the manger. This arrangement of “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Mack Wilberg (b. 1955) is the ninth and final anthem that we sang at Christ Cathedral for the Fall Festival of Faith in October. Our Gloria Dei Choir was honored to have been invited to sing on our own for a special Memorial Service for the Homeless at Christ Cathedral last night, which is recognized nationally every year in an interdenominational service on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We recall that Jesus himself was homeless with his parents on the night of his birth, and we seek now to make a home in our hearts and in our lives for the newborn king this week and every day.


—Lorraine Joy Welling, Director

   Gloria Dei Choir