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Notes on the Notes – December 9, 2018

Advent 2

This week’s theme:

Peace / White Gift Sunday

This week’s scripture readings:

Baruch 5:1-9    Luke 1:68-79

This week’s music:bethlehem

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (VU #64)

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary; and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessed gift of heaven.

No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”

The text for “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his organist, Lewis Redner, added the music. Redner’s tune, simply titled ST. LOUIS, is the tune used most often for this carol in the United States and Canada, but it may also be sung to the tune FOREST GREEN instead.

See Sarah McLachlan sing this carol at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyPMDD8fGeA

Sing along at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpHY3jU27dc

“Give Us Peace”

“Give us peace for the world, while we’re waiting,
Give us peace for ourselves, we pray,
Give us peace for your love and your healing,
Give us peace for a brand new day.

Light a candle, light a candle,
Light a candle while we wait and pray.
Light a candle, light a candle,
Light a candle of God’s peace.”

As we light the second candle on the Advent wreath, we focus on our desire for the peace of God in our lives.

“On Jordan’s Bank” (VU #20)

“On Jordan’s bank, the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lamb is nigh;
Awake and hearken, for he brings glad tidings of the King of Kings.

Then cleansed be every life from sin;
Make straight the way for God within;

And let each heart prepare a home where such a mighty guest may come.John the baptist

In you, we find abundant life,
Our refuge in the midst of strife;

Without your grace we waste away,
Like flowers that wither and decay.

Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,
And help us rise to fall no more.

O let your face upon us shine,
And fill the world with love divine.

All praise to you, eternal Son, whose advent has our freedom won;
And praise to God whom we adore, with Holy Spirit evermore.”

The words of this hymn refer to the story of John the Baptist, a forerunner of Jesus.  John the Baptist urged his followers to repent and be baptized in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.  Charles Coffin, rector of the University of Paris, wrote this Advent hymn in Latin and published it in his Hymni Sacri (1736).  A century later, John Chandler translated it for inclusion in his Hymns of the Primitive Church (1827).  The 17th-century German melody (1690) was brought to England by John Wesley and was arranged by W.H. Harvergal in 1864.

Hear the hymn in worship at the Washington National Cathedral:

“The Gift”


 “What gift shall we bring the child at Christmas time?
What gift shall we bring to the child this morn?

Shall we bring him treasures of myrrh and frankincense,
God for a babe new born?

Gifts to proclaim him King of Kings forever, on this blessed morning of his holy birth.
What gift shall we bring to the child at Christmas time?
A gift to bring peace on earth.”

On this White Gift Sunday, the children from Bible Adventures will share this song by Gene Grier and Lowell Everson.

“Longing for Light”

“Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
Light for the world to see.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.Christ be our light
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
Shared until all are fed.

Many the gifts, many the people,
Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
Making your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.”

This hymn was written by Bernadette Farrell in 1993.  ‘Longing for light’ is one of a number of hymns by Bernadette Farrell that express a hope (underlying or overt) for peace and justice in God’s world.  Each verse of this hymn follows a similar pattern, moving from a statement of what many long for yet don’t have – basic human rights and the fundamentals everyday living – to our commitment to share what we do have and respond to the needs of others. In this way, we may be a ‘light for the world to see, servants endeavouring to make Christ’s kingdom visible on earth.

Sing along with the song at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y5N6oxIKH0

“Blest Be the God of Israel” (VU #901)

This hymn is a paraphrase of the Song of Zechariah, which we will be reading this week from the book of Luke.  Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist.  The words are by Michael Arnold Perry (1942-1996), who was one of the UK’s leading hymn-writers of the 20th century.   Hal Hopson composed MERLE’S TUNE for this text in 1985.

“Blest be the God of Israel, who comes to set us free;
Who visits and redeems us and grants us liberty.
The prophets spoke of mercy, of freedom and release;
God shall fulfill the promise and bring the people peace.

Now from the house of David a child of grace is given;
A Saviour comes among us to raise us up to heaven.
Before him goes the herald, forerunner in the way,
The prophet of salvation, the harbinger of Day.

On prisoners of darkness the sun begins to rise;
The dawning of forgiveness upon the sinner’s eyes,
To guide the feet of pilgrims along the paths of peace;
O bless our God and Saviour with songs that never cease!”

Hear the hymn played on organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDYe-AiPvXc

“Where is He, Immanuel?”

“Where is He, the One who comes to save?
Where is He, O Israel?
Ages pass, the world awaits His birth.
Where is He, Immanuel?

Counsellor, who comforts all who mourn,
Bringing captive souls release,every valley.jpg
Where is He, the Child of Bethlehem?
Where is He, the Prince of Peace?

On that day, every valley is exalted!
Through the desert, the flowers bloom and grow.
Praise ring and resound through all creation.
Every hill, every mountain are made low.

Prophets say He comes to teach and heal.
Lame will walk, the blind will see.
On that day, the promise is revealed
From a branch of Jesse’s tree.

Where is He, the One who comes to save?
Where is He, O Israel?
Ages pass, the world awaits His birth.
Where is He, Immanuel?
Where is He, Immanuel?”

With reference to the prophecy of Isaiah, this week’s anthem is written by Trilby Carter Jordan and David Angerman (2011).

“Christmas Peace”

“Lord, be born in our hearts this day.
Christ-child spirit bring peace we pray.
Make the wars of the world to cease,
Bring us Lord, Christmas peace.

Lord, the world cries for unity.
Bind our hearts in community.
From all hatred our souls release,
Bring us Lord, Christmas peace.

Lord, be born in us every day.
Keep the world in your peace alway.
Christ-child spirit in us increase.
Bring us Lord, Christmas peace.

Christmas peace, Christmas peace,
Bring us Lord, Christmas peace.”

The words and music for our closing hymn are by Richard Blank (1973).

christmas peace

To ponder: 

What would you like to cry out into the world today?

Categories: Notes on the Notes