Dear members of God’s family at Resurrection Church,
Today’s gospel reading suggests that our waiting and watching during Advent has a quality of mystery in the unknown that calls us to still deeper faith in Christ. If you are able, join the congregation with your own worship at home at 10am EST on Sunday or otherwise engage our home worship resources in ways appropriate to your circumstance.
A pre-recorded worship service, complete with readings, Pastor Linman's sermon, prayers, and music will broadcast at 10am EST on Sunday, December 13, on our YouTube channel and will be available below:
Below is this week’s Advent devotion written by a member of Resurrection Church. There will be a written reflection and invitation to prayer for each of the four Sundays in Advent based on selected verses from each Sunday’s first reading from the lectionary. Many thanks to our members who have generously offered their time, energy and creativity to serve our communal devotions during Advent.
Reflection based on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Isaiah is speaking to Israel when times have been very tough, and tells of God’s promise that next year will be better, in every way.
How appropriate for Advent, the beginning of the church’s year, particularly in a year that has been so distressing. We can see that, although things are far from being back to normal, we already see signs of hope.
Through Isaiah, God tells Israel, and us, that those who persevere in following the Lord even during adversity, will be His chosen people and will be rewarded in the new year and continuing in the future. One thinks also of the parallels to the beatitudes in the 5th chapter of Matthew.
At the end, in verse 11, Isaiah likens God’s promise to a garden returning in the spring, after a bleak winter. So, too, what Isaiah calls “the year of the Lord’s favor” will return over and over.
The prayer appointed for this Sunday in our current worship book follows the traditional “stir up” theme of Advent prayers. But Thomas Cranmer, in the 1549 Anglican Prayer Book, translated a different prayer into English from Latin that is apt for this time of long nights, when we long for the hoped-for light of Christ:
Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our hearts, by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hymn of the Day: “Hark! A Thriling Voice Is Sounding!” ELW 246 Text: Latin hymn 1632; tr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) Tune: MERTON, William H. Monk (1823-1889).
Although earliest manuscript copy dates from the tenth century, this text is possibly as old as the fifth century. It is based on the Latin hymn 'Vox clara ecce intonat" and its 1632 revision "En clara vox redarguit." The text in the Psalter Hymnal is a revision of both Edward Caswall's translation in his Lyra Catholica (1849) and the translation in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).
William H. Monk composed MERTON and published it in The Parish Choir (1850). The tune has been associated with this text since the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. The tune's title is thought to refer to Walter de Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford, England. William Henry Monk was an English organist, church musician and music editor who also composed the popular hymn tune "Eventide", used for the hymn "Abide with Me". He also wrote music for church services and anthems, and began daily choral services with the choir leading the congregation in music chosen according to the church year, including psalms chanted to plainsong.
Musical Meditation: "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” (Savior of the Nations, Come) Paul Siefert (1586-1666)
Paul Siefert was a German composer, organist and music theorist. He was a prolific composer, who was always quarreling with the Kapellmeisters for not doing justice to the performance of his works.
"Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” is first documented as a Roman Catholic Latin hymn based upon Gregorian chant in manuscript form. This piece is one of a set of variations.