Preparing for Worship - December 2, 2018
Join us as we kick off our first Sunday of advent at Faith Church. As we enter into this season we will do a five part series on the incarnation of the Son of God. Two thousand years ago God became man for us and for our salvation and this miracle has been the object of endless devotion, contemplation, and praise ever since. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. Come Thou Almighty King
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is an 18th century English hymn.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were penned by Charles Wesley and this song is a plea for the Lord to come and visit his people. It is not normally thought of as an advent tune, but it is both a fitting call to worship and advent hymn as we remember the Lord’s coming to us long ago, anticipate his future return, and expect his presence with us by the Holy Spirit in worship.
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. Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
Style: This is a renaissance era tune that does not have a definite time signature. It is melodic, chordal, and prayerful.
Song Info: The origins of this song are anonymous and it first appeared in the sixteenth century. It's lyrics are certainly based on Isaiah 11:1 - "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit." This hymn has been widely used by both Catholics and Protestants but interestingly the interpretation of the hymn has divided along those lines. Catholics sing this song in reference to Mary being the shoot of Jesse that brings forth the fragrant flower (Jesus). Protestants sing this song in reference to Jesus being the shoot of Jesse. The tune of this song is from Brahms.
4. O Come O Come Emmanuel
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style.
Song info: This hymn was first published in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum in 1710. The exact authorship of the lyrics and the tune itself are unknown but it has reached its modern form through the help of Johannes Herringsdorf. This is a true Advent hymn as it is anticipated the appearance of Christ rather than celebrating his arrival. It is sung from the perspective of God's people mourning in exile and awaiting the promised Davidic king.
5. Mary Consoles Eve
Style: This is a contemporary song done in a Nashville, folk-rock style. It’s up tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This song written by Sandra McCracken originally appeared on her Rain for Roots record entitled Waiting Songs - a collection of advent songs for children. It’s sung as a conversation between Eve and Mary. Mary was often understood to be the new Eve in the early church because she is ultimately the one through whom the promised snake-crusher came into the world. Mary is rightly called the mother of God because the man Jesus who was conceived in her womb and who was born in a manger in Bethlehem is the Creator God whom we worship.
See you Sunday!