Let the Valleys Be Raised
By Dan Schutte, this hymn is an interesting theological fusion of the linked prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah.
In Isaiah 40:3-5, the prophet tells us to prepare the way for the Lord, the one who can make our crooked pathways straight, and fill the valleys and lower the mountains that obscure our goal of knowing God.
700 years later, In Luke 1:68-79, Zechariah, the father of St John the Baptist thanks God for coming to us, His people, to be our Savior. In one of the most poetic lines spoken in the New Testament:
In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
This Canticle of Zechariah, spoken at the birth of St John, has been sung by the Church in many forms for centuries, and is prayed daily by the Church during the Liturgy of the hours, morning prayer.
R. Let the valleys be raised and the mountains made low.
Every meadow and field overturn,
make the pathway straight and the highway run smooth
for the coming of God in our day.
1. God you come to your people, as you promised of old.
You have raised up a Savior in the sight of us all.
2. You, little child, go before him like the prophets of old
bringing news of his coming by the mercy of God.
3. God, you come like the morning on the darkness of night,
as a light to the people, like the breaking of day.