Hymn: The church has waited long

The church has waited long,
Her absent Lord to see;
And still in loneliness she waits,
A friendless stranger she.
Age after age has gone,
Sun after sun has set;
And still in weeds of widowhood,
She weeps a mourner yet.

Saint after saint on earth,
Has lived, and loved, and died;
And as they left us one by one,
We laid them side by side.
We laid them down to sleep,
But not in hope forlorn;
We laid them but to ripen there
Till the last glorious morn.

The serpent’s blood increase,
The powers of hell grow bold,
The conflict thickens, faith is low,
And love is waxing cold.
How long, 0 Lord our God,
Holy and true and good,
Wilt thou not judge thy suffering church,
Her sighs and tears and blood?

We long to hear thy voice,
To see thee face to face,
To share thy crown and glory there,
As now we share thy grace.
Should not the loving Bride,
The absent Bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief,
Until her Lord return?

The whole creation groans,
And waits to hear that voice
That shall restore her comeliness,
And make her wastes rejoice.
Come, Lord, and wipe away
The curse, the sin, the stain,
And make this blighted world of ours,
Thine own fair world again!

Horatius Bonar

This hymn is from J. C. Ryle’s little book Spiritual Songs, published in 1849, when he was rector of Helmingham, Suffolk. The hymns Ryle selected were not found in the most common hymnbooks of the day.

Suggested tune: Bonar.

Download a .pdf file of the hymnal.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:20


  • An Anglican minister, teacher, speaker, and writer, Daniel has served as a parish pastor, military chaplain, hospital chaplain, and bishop. He is editor of Confessing Anglicans.

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