This Sunday, December 6, we gather as one body to worship through music, scripture, song and Holy Communion. We have one service at 10:30 AM and one Sunday School at 9:15 AM. As I am not preaching and the service is full of lots of music, I’ve asked our Director of Music and Fine Arts, Matthew Robinson, to guest on my blog today. Enjoy his words and descriptions about this coming Sunday.
We find a pulse in the rhythm of the Christian year, with Advent as its beginning. It’s the time when we prepare our spirit and soul for the birth of a child that will stop the world in its tracks.
We often want to rush things and skip over Advent. We put the “baby in the manger” a bit too soon rather than “ponder all these things in our hearts” as Mary did. This happens quickly in our souls when it comes to the seasonal music. We want to hurry and sing the carols we know and love. We think it just isn’t Christmas unless we hear Silent Night right after Thanksgiving. That’s not Advent . . . that’s Christmas. And, if we’ve learned anything from Rev. Marty Vershel’s series Advent Conspiracy, we heard that we must focus on the right way to prepare.
With that in mind, the worship service for this coming Sunday is primarily the music of Advent, with carols pointing us to Christmas — carols like Joy to the World, Of the Father’s Love Begotten and The First Noel, just to name a few. The readings and music underlie a creation theme. Doing so helps us understand Advent and Christmas more broadly, as a step in the restoration and completion of all creation. All of this is offered by our Chancel Choir, Chancel Bells, Open Skies Band and Lay Readers.
Consider this: we’ve heard many hints of this “creational” theme before. Joy to the World doesn’t mention a word about the manger, but sings rather of “fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains” repeating the sounding joy. Once we start with this “creational motif,” we hardly know where to stop, with stars moving around in the heavens, with animals gazing on the newborn Christ-child, with carols chock-full of fish, flowers, and mountains, of sight, sound and fragrance.
The beautiful mural on the chancel wall visually invites us to see this “creation” motif, too, with images of the earth, sky, heavens . . . and Bethlehem. The mural is based on one created for a Concordia College Christmas Choir Concert. Melissa Burnham and Leah Stevens organized and led a team of painters that included Debbie Hartgraves, Julianne Woody, Becky Adams, Pat Pratt, Lola Bourgeois, Gretchen Giles, Martha and Cat Lazor, Jennifer Ogilvie, Melissa Bailey, Matthew Robinson Cathleen Haughton, LeAnn Jackson, Gail Perley, Austin Kincannon, Richard Burnham and M’Liss Heps. They spent many hours completing the work.
Advent signifies to all creation that it is time to prepare. Let us do so . . . and LET HEAVEN AND NATURE SING!
P.S. Oh, yeah . . . AND, we get to share in the baptism of Campbell Kincannon, daughter of Austin and Claire Kincannon. What a GREAT day it will BE!