Join us this Sunday as we continue in the season of Advent. Also this Sunday we begin our series in the book of Exodus - "Exodus: The Roots of Our Redemption". We will teach through the book of Exodus in three parts. In this first part we begin here in the Advent season and will continue through Easter with the goal of arriving at the Passover Story on Easter day. Here are the songs we'll sing together this Sunday:
1. O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL
Style: We will be singing the traditional version of this hymn, though perhaps at a more up-tempo pace than you may have heard in the past.
Song Info: This song works well as a Call To Worship during the advent season because it is announcing that the advent of the kingdom of God has come and calling all of those who have been faithfully waiting for it to come and witness what God has done. The writing of the lyrics are attributed to John Francis Wade in 1751. This hymn was originally sung in Latin.
2. COMFORT, COMFORT O MY PEOPLE
Style: This is a song from the renaissance that is festive, a mid madrigal, and lacking in a time signature. Yet it is easy to sing with a very catchy melody.
Song Info: The lyrics to this song are lifted almost word-for-word from Isaiah 40:1-8 which was a prophesy concerning the future restoration of Jerusalem. Most famous from this section are these lines:
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
These lines were first adapted in the seventeenth century by Johann G. Olearius then translated into english by Catherine Winkworth in the nineteenth century. The tune comes from Claude Goudimel from the sixteenth century who was responsible for arranging many of the Psalms found in the Genevan Psalter - the production of which was overseen by John Calvin.
This song takes up the anthem of Isaiah 40 in proclaiming peace to the people of God who have long suffered in exile. The anthem is for us today:
Comfort comfort O my people; Speak of peace now says our God
Comfort those who sit in darkness; Mourning 'neath their sorrow's load
Speak unto Jerusalem; Of the peace that waits for them
Tell her of the sins I cover; And that warfare now is over.
3. ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be more up-tempo with a spirit of celebration.
Song Info: This song works well as a "sending song" because of its celebratory feel. "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is Latin for "Glory to God in the Highest". It is a hymn of praise and rejoicing sung in response to the wonderful grace of God that we have found in Christ Jesus. The melody is a traditional french melody but our modern arrangement was put together by Edward Barnes in 1937.
4. MARANATHA! COME LORD JESUS
Style: This is a song written in a modal key and, for that reason, has a middle-eastern feel. It employs the use of a cantor and the congregation sings the refrain. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This song was written by Janèt Sullivan Whitaker in 2002. It is a true Advent song in that it is a prayer for the Lord Jesus to come soon. It puts us in the place of ancient Israel awaiting the initial arrival of the Messiah while at the same time allowing us to anticipate Jesus' return from our place today.
5. HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
Style: We will play the original version of this song. It is mid-tempo, choral, and joyful.
Song Info: This hymn was penned by Charles Wesley in 1739. The lyrics that we have today were slightly altered by Wesley's contemporary, the great preacher George Whitfield. Mendelssohn composed the music. This song was written to be a hymn for Christmas Day. Below is a "missing verse" not often sung but precious nonetheless:
Come, Desire of Nations, come,
Fix in us thy heav'nly Home;
Rise the Woman's conqu'ring Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent's Head.
Adam's Likeness now efface,
Stamp thy Image in its Place;
Second Adam from above,
Work it in us by thy Love.
See you Sunday!