Let All Mortal Flesh

Read: Isaiah 6:1-6

Let all God’s angels worship him. (Heb. 1:6)

With this Christmas hymn we are brought into the worship of the ancient church. “Let All Mortal Flesh” was originally written in Greek and is found in the Liturgy of St. James, which may go all the way back to the early church in Jerusalem. It certainly breathes awe and a sense of mystery into our worship. Let all mortal flesh keep silence, / And with fear and trembling stand; / Set your minds on things eternal / For with blessing in his hand, / Christ our God to earth descended, / Come our homage to demand.

The Nicene Creed speaks of the Son as “God from God, Light from Light.” So does this hymn, with the added thought that all the angels of heaven rise to honor and accompany him—clearing his path, so to speak—as Christ descends to earth to take on human flesh in order to defeat the powers of darkness. Rank on rank the host of heaven / Stream before him on the way.

In Isaiah’s vision the angels surround God with praise: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (v. 3). “Let All Mortal Flesh” echoes that scene, but the cherubim and seraphim sing their praise to the incarnate Son. At His feet the six wingèd seraph; / Cherubim, with sleepless eye, / Veil their faces to his presence, / As with ceaseless voice they cry: / Alleluia, Alleluia / Alleluia, Lord Most High!

As you pray, worship Jesus, the Son of God.

Listen along: Let All Mortal Flesh – ChurchFolk Project, Let All Mortal Flesh – Living Stones Quartet

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.

This entry is part 17 of 25 in the series Carols and Lessons