One of my favourite carols of recent years is E’en so, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come, which I first heard as part of the Advent Carol Service from St John’s College Cambridge, broadcast each year on BBC Radio 3.
It’s a simple enough carol, with four verses, written by Paul Manz, but very moving, with wonderful words by his wife Ruth.
But the story behind the carol perhaps explains why the piece carries such an impact. One of the Manz’s children, their 3 year old son, John, came down with a childhood illness that threatened to end his life. At one point he was so ill that Paul and Ruth Manz took turns at their son’s bedside – Ruth by day, Paul by night.
During their vigil Ruth brought her husband some words she’d written based on a text in Revelation including verses from Revelation 22, which speaks of the longing of the Advent, and the coming of the Christ.
In a report from Minnesota Public Radio, Ruth Manz comments: “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,'” Paul Manz sketched out the carol at his son’s bedside and, as they report, “miraculously through prayer by a lot of people John survived.”
So in many ways this beautiful piece is a testimony to the faith of a young couple (their son is now in his sixties) and the power of a prayer for the Lord Jesus to come into their situation.
Peace be to you and grace from him
Who freed us from our sins,
Who loved us all and shed his blood
That we might saved be.
Sing holy, holy to our Lord,
The Lord, Almighty God,
Who was and is and is to come;
Sing holy, holy, Lord!
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein,
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below,
For Christ is coming, is coming soon,
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!