1 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
announces that the Lord is nigh.
Awake and harken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings!
2 Then cleansed be every life from sin:
make straight the way for God within,
and let us all our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.
3 We hail you as our Savior, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward.
Without your grace we waste away
like flowers that wither and decay.
4 Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,
and make us rise to fall no more.
O let your face upon us shine
and fill the world with love divine.
5 All praise to you, eternal Son,
whose advent has our freedom won,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Spirit, evermore.
John the Baptist's announcement "Prepare the way for the Lord" (Matt. 3:3, a quote from Isa. 40:3) is the primary basis for this Advent hymn. Stanzas 1 and 2 apply that message to people today; stanza 3 is a confession by God's people of their need for salvation; stanza 4 is a prayer for healing and love; stanza 5 is a doxology. This much-loved Advent text is laced with various scriptural phrases.
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
What is notable about this song is that it concludes with a Trinitarian doxology, thus pointing to the truth that the coming of Christ was clearly a redeeming action involving all three members of the Trinity. Heidelberg Catechism captures the role of each member of the Trinity in Lord’s Day 12, Question and Answer 31 when it professes that Christ is called anointed, because he has been “ordained by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit” to be our prophet, priest, and king.