Today we sing one of our favourite Advent hymns “O Day of God Draw Nigh” with text by R.B.Y. Scott (1899-1987). I think his background is worth an interesting read: ….born in Toronto July 16,1899, the son of John McPherson Scott (Presbyterian Church in Canada minister); graduate of Knox College, University of Toronto, R.B.Y. Scott received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1922, a Master of Arts degree in 1924, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1928 and ordained in the United Church of Canada in 1926.
He started teaching at Union College of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1928. In 1931, he moved to Montreal where he was a professor of Old Testament language and literature at the United Theological College. From 1948 until 1955, he taught Old Testament at McGill University. In 1947, he became the first Dean of the Faculty of Divinity at McGill University. He was a member of the World Council of Churches from 1949 to 1955. In 1951, he "helped recover several fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls ... that had found their way into the hands of private dealers in Bethlehem." In 1955, he was appointed the Danforth Professor in the new Department of Religion at Princeton University; chairman of the department from 1963 to 1965, retiring in 1968; and continued work as President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies from 1971 to 1972.
Scott is noted especially for his staunch support for the social gospel ethos of the United Church, both at Princeton and at home in Canada. For some 10 of his 24 hymns, many are written in the cause of the Fellowship for a Christian Social Order, especially the social gospel hymn "O Day of God, Draw Nigh.” It is found in hymnals of the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Church of Christ churches of Australia, plus hymnals of British and US churches. It was sung at Westminster Abbey at the memorial service for John Smith, the leader of the British Labour Party.