Third Sunday of Advent

This morning our pastor said, “Advent is not celebrated, it is observed.” I loved that distinction. We celebrate Christmas, we observe Advent. That had not crossed my mind before, but I like it. 🙂 Observe away.

So at our [fairly traditional, liturgical] church, announcements begin the service as people hush their children, gather their wits, and begin to prepare to enter the heavenlies. After that, there is a musical meditation where the congregation is encouraged to meditate and turn their hearts to worship. Then comes the official call to worship. It is generally a short responsive reading. During this Advent season, our responsive call to worship includes this:

Peace be with you.
And also with you.
Tell those who hunger for righteousness to take heart.
The Lord our God will come!
Tell the poor in spirit to take heart.
The Lord our God will come!
Tell the orphan to take heart.
The Lord our God will come!
Tell the grieving widow to take heart.
The Lord our God will come!
Warn the tyrant to keep watch.
The Lord our God will come!
Warn the unjust to keep watch.
The Lord our God will come!
Warn the haughty to keep watch.
The Lord our God will come!

I love it. And let me just add that in my head, I add “grieving family” to grieving widow, just because I do. Sigh. It’s an extra way of reminding myself of my True Hope. The Lord our God will come!

On this particular morning my dearest friend Margaret and I sang a duet for the meditation, and I wanted to share the text with you. Perhaps it doesn’t seem necessarily Advent-ish. But, oh, yes it is! As we recall the first advent of Christ, we simultaneously look forward with eagerness to His second advent! That is what this song focuses on. I love the first and last verses the most. Especially the last one. Oh, how I love the resounding call for Christ to claim His Kingdom, for He alone shall reign! Amen!

Lo! He comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of His train:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at nought and sold Him,
pierced, and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.

Those dear tokens of His passion
still His dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to His ransomed worshipers;
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
gaze we on those glorious scars!

Now redemption, long expected,
see in solemn pomp appear;
all His saints, by man rejected,
now shall meet Him in the air:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
See the day of God appear!

Yes, amen! let all adore Thee,
high on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory;
claim the Kingdom for Thine own:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Thou shalt reign, and Thou alone.

Words: John Cennick (1718-1755), 1752;
as altered by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), 1758;
and then altered by Martin Madan (1726-1790), 1760

3 Replies to “Third Sunday of Advent”

  1. It’s the same basic melody as Psalm 80C (I think!) in the red psalter. “Hear O hear us Israel’s shepherd…” The harmonies and rhythms are a little changed, but it’s the basic idea. 🙂
    And thanks for your constant sweetness and prayers, Hannah. You girls are a blessing.

  2. Okay, thanks! I recognized the meter, just in reading it, but couldn’t get the tune going in my head. :o)
    And you are ever welcome to my prayers, feeble though they be, they ever seek out Him Who is coming!

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