Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Hymns 2008

November 30, 2008 - the First Sunday of Advent. Lovely morning services, with nary a Christmas carol in the mix. The evening service began with a nice extended set of Christmas carols. Something for everyone at the start of the season.

Young preacher begins his evening sermon along these lines ... "Don't you enjoy singing the songs of the first Advent, preparing for the celebration of Jesus' birth? But don't you also long to sing songs of his second Advent?" Music pastor's antennae spring up ... it isn't often his selections are publicly denounced or dissed. Quick review of the day - was there really no reference to the second coming, in all these songs of the day? (Well, sure, there is the not-too-oblique "O Lord, how shall I meet you?" of Paul Gerhardt.) I let it pass.

At the end of the sermon, I realize what the good ministry resident meant, by what he reiterated. Ah yes, of course! Yes, I do; I do long to sing the songs of the second Advent ... the songs that we sing after Jesus returns. Maranatha! Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Or, as the choir will sing this coming Sunday (as choirs have for over 50 years now, courtesy Paul Manz):
Peace be to you, and grace from Him who freed us from our sins,
who loved us all and shed His blood that we might saved be.
Sing holy, holy to our Lord, the Lord Almighty God,
Who was and is and is to come;
Sing holy, holy Lord!
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein, rejoice on earth, ye saints below,
for Christ is coming, is coming soon!
E'en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more;
They need no light, nor lamp nor sun, for Christ will be their All.

And now, another great Advent text, this one for congregation:

From the Father’s throne on high
Christ returns to rule and reign.
Child of earth, he came to die;
Judge of all he comes again.

Darkened be the day at noon
When the stars of heaven fall;
Earth and sky and sun and moon –
Cloudy darkness covers all.

Ancient powers of sin and death
Shake to hear the trumpet blown;
From the winds’ remotest breath
God will gather in his own.

So behold the promised sign,
Sky and sea by tumult driven,
And the King of kings divine
Coming in the clouds of heaven.

Come then, Lord, in light and power,
At whose word the worlds began;
In the unexpected hour
Come in glory, son of man!
USA © 1987 by Hope Publishing Company
Yes, this too is how we should be singing in the meantime between Advents, and specifically in December 2008.

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