This morning’s canticle from Common Worship was culled from Isaiah 9:2-7, but it’s been vandalised like most of the other canticles in our liturgy. Why? What is wrong with the flow of the song as it was originally written? Here’s what’s been included in Common Worship and then, below that, the full song, with the bits which have been cut out highlighted in bold. It seems the liturgical committee doesn’t like the specific type of oppression that the child king will free his people from, by his wise and eternal reign. If nations like Syria or Southern Sudan are to enjoy peace, the whole truth about the rule of Christ needs to be made known to the nations. It’s no good chopping bits out to make worship easier on the ear.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; •
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
upon them the light has dawned.
You have increased their joy and given them great gladness; •
they rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest.
For you have shattered the yoke that burdened them; •
the collar that lay heavy on their shoulders.
For to us a child is born and to us a son is given, •
and the government will be upon his shoulder.
And his name will be called: Wonderful Counsellor;
the Mighty God; •
the Everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace •
there will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, •
to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness.
From this time forth and for evermore; •
the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9.2, 3b, 4a, 6, 7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.