Sunday, November 29, First Sunday of Advent
Sunday, November 29 is the first Sunday of Advent. Find the readings here.
Dear Friends in Christ,
This week’s worship video is now available:
Morning Prayer, Rite II
Morning Prayer, Rite I
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I hope you all had happy, but safe, celebrations of Thanksgiving. In particular, I hope that a sense of gratitude for what we have, and what we can do, is winning out over regret over what we're having to give up for the sake of our safety, and our neighbors'. The imminent arrival of COVID vaccines is certainly much to be thankful for, but so is the hard work of not only the scientists who created them, but also the legions of essential workers, many of whom are underappreciated and poorly paid. I hope and pray that our collective gratitude endures longer than the pandemic, and that our gratitude is expressed with a greater appreciation of science, and better pay and working conditions for all the people who make our modern lives possible.
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Here are Mark's music notes:
We begin the new liturgical year this Sunday as we move into Advent. We have new canticles to sing. Our first canticle “The Desert Shall Rejoice” (WLP 722) is a newly recognized canticle text based on a passage from Isaiah 35. Words and music are both by prominent women in their fields. Author Gracia Grindal is on the faculty of Luther Seminary in Minneapolis and is a prolific hymn writer as well as translator and commentator. Joy F. Patterson is both a hymn writer as well as a composer of hymntunes. She is an elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. She has said that her aim is ‘to use simple but timeless language and to relate the ancient truths of the Christian faith to today’s world.’
The second canticle is a metrical setting of the Song of Zechariah. Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist and this is the prophecy he sings at John’s birth. A message of hope, forgiveness and mercy, and the life path that John would follow. This text is found in Wonder, Love and Praise at 889, but I have chosen to pair this text with a folk tune that was arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams. “Forest Green” appears in the Hymnal 1982 three times, and most famously paired with “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Hymn 78) with which it is well connected in England, but not so much with church goers in the US.
Organ music is based upon both of these tunes.
I want to encourage you to join me in watching the Advent "O Antiphon" service from St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, which is the originator of our Advent Lessons and Carols that we are not able to do this year. We have a great opportunity to see the place interpret in 2020 the service that inspired ours. And we can hear the entire congregation sing (virtually) "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" together! The Leaflet is here with a great description of the importance of the O-Antiphons. The service is available for view from their live stream page at 10 pm ET (Stream starts at 9:45--with music--7 pm Pacific Time).