Monthly Archives: November 2014

Anticipation – Advent Music

Anticipation: an emotion involving pleasure, excitement, and sometimes anxiety in considering some expected or longed-for good event.


To me, Advent is more than just waiting.  It is waiting with bated breath, of longing for the exciting and mysterious event to come.  Each Sunday in our worship music, I feel the excitement growing.  It is a wonderful time and my favorite season of the liturgical year.


 Sunday, November 30


Prelude: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” Carolynn Baer, flute

Though the exact words of this hymn come from the nineteenth century, they are based on one of the oldest texts still used by the church.  The minor tonality of the tune PICARDY, a French carol dating from the seventeenth century, perfectly expresses the sense of awe of the Advent season.


Candlelighting HymnAs we light the Advent candles each Sunday, we will sing about the gift of Christ  which is peace, the light of Christ which is hope, the heart of Christ which is love, and our joy in Christ’s salvation.  The melody is the familiar Austrian folk tune, “Still, Still, Still.”


Hymn: “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”

Charles Wesley wrote this Advent hymn and printed it in his Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord (1744). Like so many of Wesley’s texts, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” alludes to one or more Scripture passages in virtually every phrase.

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.


Anthem: “Come, My Savior, Come My King”

Stan Pethel’s anthem expresses the wonder of salvation and the particularly unique vision of Christ’s “kingship.”


May your Advent be blessed with anticipation of “the good event.”





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In Our Music this Sunday

hymnsNovember 23, the last Sunday before Advent, is a big Sunday at Christ Presbyterian.  Primarily our stewardship Commitment Sunday, it is also Thanksgiving Sunday and Christ the King Sunday.  Interestingly, all three of these celebrations are connected: we worship Christ our King, give thanks for all God has provided for us, and commit ourselves to being Christ’s disciples in the world.



Prelude – “Christ the King” (handbells)

The Chancel Ringers begin worship with a handbell arrangement of the familiar hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively recent addition (1925) to the western liturgical calendar. It is observed on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time (that long period of the church year from Pentecost to Advent).  Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christ’s kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others.


Call to Worship –  “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” (choir)

Written for village harvest festivals in England, the text uses imagery to represent annual harvests as well as the last days when we (the grain) are gathered into God’s harvest.. The first verse is written as a celebration of the harvest, calling us to give thanks to God for it, and making the hymn a good one for Commitment Sunday as well as Thanksgiving.


Hymn of Commitment – “Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated”

Let this prayer hymn by Frances Havergal speak for itself.



Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.


Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.


Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.


Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.


Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.


Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.


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Veterans Day and Hymns of the Church

veterans-day-honoring-all-who-served-flagIn most years, Veterans Day passes in our churches with little or no mention. Historically, Veterans’ Day has been more a civic than a sacred observance.   World War I ended on November 11, 1918, with the signing of the Armistice by the Allies and Germany.  Armistice Day became Veterans Day by act of Congress in 1954, and President Eisenhower called on the nation to remember the sacrifices of those who fought in all our nation’s wars, to celebrate the contributions of all veterans of military service, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace.

 Churches remember veterans in their prayers.  Good hymns for the day are harder to find, so church music directors generally focus on the subject of peace.  I’ve found a couple; what are your suggestions?


O God of Every nation (#289) William Reid, the poet, served in the US Army during WWII, and was imprisoned in Germany for eight months. His experiences provide the background for this hymn.


O God of every nation, of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation with your almighty hand;
where hate and fear divide us and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us and heal our strife-torn world.

Lord, strengthen all who labor that we may find release
from fear of rattling saber, from dread of war’s increase;
when hope and courage falter, your still small voice be heard;
with faith that none can alter, your servants undergird.

Keep bright in us the vision of days when war shall cease,
when hatred and division give way to love and peace,
till dawns the morning glorious when truth and justice reign
and Christ shall rule victorious o’er all the world’s domain.


God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand (#262) Daniel Crane Roberts, author, served in the 84th Ohio Volunteers in the Civil War.


God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies. 
Our grateful songs before thy throne arise.


Thy love divine hath led us in the past, in this free land by thee our lot is cast,
Be thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay, thy Word our law, 
thy paths our chosen way.


From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase, 
thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh thy people on their toilsome way, lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, 
and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.






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Christ Presbyterian Children’s Choir sings “Ubi Caritas,”

(Where there is love, God is there). 




JOURNEYS OF PAUL – Turning the World Upside Down (Acts 17:6)


Paul was born the son of a Pharisee and educated in Jerusalem alongside the men of the synagogue. He knew the Jewish law, their traditions, their history, and the scriptures.  He was an ardent enemy of Christianity until his transformation on the road to Damascus.   From that defining moment until his death he preached the Good News of Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles.


Picture1Mykonos, GreeceOn a free day, we visited this Greek Island, where whitewashed buildings seemed to climb on top of each other to reach the sky. The famous windmills (seen across the top) stand in a row overlooking the sea to harness the strong northern winds. Capped with wood and straw, the windmills, built by the Venetians in the 16th century to mill flour, remained in use until the early 20th century.


Naples and Pompeii, ItalyPaul landed in the Bay of Naples on his way to Rome during his final journey.  We traveled inland Picture2 from there to ancient Pompeii, which was covered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Pompeii was rediscovered as the result of excavations in 1748.  This photo shows the ruins of Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background.



“I am the least of the Apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” 

(1 Corinthians 15:9-10)







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