So remember how I talked about “Late Have I Loved You”? I found out that Gungor had not come up with the idea for the song, but in fact stole the lyrics from St. Augustine. I was rather cheered with how the modern and ancient connected to praise God.

Well I just ran across another such song. The first song in the David Crowder Band’s album Church Music is not only taken from an ancient hymn, it’s taken from possibly the most ancient hymn.

From Wikipedia:

Phos Hilaron (Φῶς Ἱλαρόν) is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in New Testament Greek. Often referred to by its Latin title Lumen Hilare it has been translated into English as ‘Hail Gladdening Light’ or ‘O Gladsome/Joyous Light’. It is the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible that is still in use today… Phos Hilaron is to be sung at the lighting of lamps in the evening and so is sometimes known as the ‘Lamp-lighting Hymn’

St. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) spoke of the singing of the Phos Hilaron as a cherished tradition of the church, the hymn being already considered old in his day…

At that time in Jerusalem a lamp was kept perpetually burning in the empty tomb of Christ, its glow a symbol of the living light of Jesus. As Christians gathered to worship the hymn was sung and, in a tradition known as the lighting of the lamps, a candle lit from the lamp was brought forth from the tomb, its bright, solitary flame calling the church to celebrate the Risen Lord.

Now the David Crowder Band did take a bit of artistic license – but overall I think they stayed pretty close to the original words. See what you think. Below is the verbatim translation from Greek, and below that is Crowder’s modern take on the ancient hymn.

 

O Light gladsome of the holy glory of the Immortal Father,

the Heavenly, the Holy, the Blessed, O Jesus Christ,

having come upon the setting of the sun, having seen the light of the evening,

we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God.

Worthy it is at all times to praise Thee in joyful voices,

O Son of God, Giver of Life, for which the world glorifies Thee.

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