Hump Day Hymns: Come, Lord, and Tarry Not


Come, Lord and tarry not;
Bring the long-looked-for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”:
Dost Thou not hear the cry?

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and begin Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the Kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

When I was a child, I was terrified by the thought of Jesus’ return. I was terrified of the world ending. I wanted to live out my life and not have it cut short. As I have grown, however, my outlook has changed. I long ever more deeply and desperately for the parousia.

In my community I am faced with depths of human suffering. Homelessness, poverty, unemployment, crippling hopelessness, murders, assaults, and prostitution. Every day is another example of how the world is not how it ought to be. While I stand before my congregation of people who all suffer and hurt deeply, people who are visibly broken and cannot hide it as others can, people who have a hard time reconciling the sovereignty and providence of God with their own life experience of barely being able to subsist, even with assistance.

What I appreciate about this hymn is that it, I think, cuts to the core of the issue. Some other hymns will talk about streets of gold and mansions. However, to be honest, I don’t care about mansions or streets of gold, I yearn for suffering to end, I yearn for things to be as they ought, I yearn to have a night with no sirens, and a morning when I can look at the news and see no shootings the previous night. I cry out, “Come, Lord, don’t waste anymore time! Why do you keep us waiting?”

This hymn is honest, and I think that it is both relatable and formative. Who cannot relate to deeply yearning for redemption, to wondering if God actually hears our cries, to grasping on to this hope as if our lives depended on it, even if we have seen no confirmation of it as yet? Streets of gold and mansions are fine, but they are not what I am concerned about, and I don’t know many people who are truly looking forward to streets paved with gold. The people that I know long for restoration and redemption, things to be how they ought to be, for suffering to end and to gain the ability to dwell with God and one another in peace and harmony. Most of the people that I know desire, more than anything, to see a fulfillment of the vision of Isaiah:

No more shall there be in it
   an infant that lives but a few days,
   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
   they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain,
   or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
   and their descendants as well. (Is. 65:20-23, NRSV)


Come, Lord and tarry not;
Bring the long-looked-for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?

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