God Has Reigned From a Tree

 The standards of the King appear, 
  the mystery of the cross shines out in glory, 
  the cross on which life suffered death 
  and by that death gave back life to us. 

  His side, wounded by the spear's cruel point, 
  poured out water and blood 
  to wash away the stains of our sins. 

  The words of David's true prophetic song were fulfilled, 
  in which he announced to the nations: 
  "God has reigned from a tree." 

  Tree of dazzling beauty, 
  adorned with the purple of the King's blood, 
  and chosen from a stock 
  worthy to bear limbs so sacred. 

  How favoured the tree 
  on whose branches hung the ransom of the world; 
  it was made a balance on which his body was weighed, 
  and bore away the prey that hell had claimed. 

  Hail, cross, our only hope! 
  In this season of passiontide 
  give an increase of grace to the good 
  and wipe out the sins of the guilty. 

  Let every spirit praise you, 
  fount of salvation, Holy Trinity. 
  On those to whom you have generously given the 
    victory of the cross, 
  bestow the reward also. Amen. 

                      -  Passion Hymn by Venantius Fortunatus 
                                                 (6th century) 


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