Two years ago, I enjoyed listening to the recording of the Salisbury Cathedral Advent Service called "From Darkness to Light".
Images from this candlelit service are always stunning. See this combination of two long exposures by Matt Cardy, for instance.
Now the entire recording can be heard in a number of places online, including YouTube -- though I hasten to add that if you have a way to listen to this without advertising interruptions I strongly advise you to do so.
Here are my reflections from two years ago after my initial hearing:
At first it sounded a bit slow. But as I listened more, I realized that it was all of a piece. The music, the liturgy, and the prayer is all so incredibly intentional, deliberately paced, and rich with meaning. I was particularly struck with the loud introduction of the organ in the service for the appearance of John the Baptist and his infamous cry. And to my listening ear Jeremy Davies's inimitably gracious precenting cannot help but draw one deeply into the liturgy. I found the closing blessing particularly beautiful.
I'm struck by the power of this remarkable service -- and I've only listened to it. I can only imagine what the sheer drama of this liturgy would be like in person.
This is the kind of experience that makes me so very grateful for the rich heritage of organ and choral music in the Anglican tradition.
This is the kind of thing that makes me very glad to be a Christian.
Here are the Lessons for the Saturday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here).
This final day of the series marks the end of this "Lent of St. Martin". I'd be curious to know your thoughts about these lessons and this way of preparing for Advent.
Psalms 148, 150
PSALM 148. Laudate Dominum O PRAISE the Lord of heaven : praise him in the height. 2 Praise him, all ye angels of his : praise him, all his host. 3 Praise him, sun and moon : praise him, all ye stars and light. 4 Praise him, all ye heavens : and ye waters that are above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the Name of the Lord : for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created. 6 He hath made them fast for ever and ever : he hath given them a law which shall not be broken. 7 Praise the Lord upon earth : ye dragons, and all deeps; 8 Fire and hail, snow and vapours : wind and storm, fulfilling his word; 9 Mountains and all hills : fruitful trees and all cedars; 10 Beasts and all cattle : worms and feathered fowls; 11 Kings of the earth and all people : princes and all judges of the world; 12 Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the Lord : for his Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth. 13 He shall exalt the horn of his people; all his saints shall praise him : even the children of Israel, even the people that serveth him. PSALM 150. Laudate Dominum O PRAISE God in his holiness : praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him in his noble acts : praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him in the sound of the trumpet : praise him upon the lute and harp. 4 Praise him in the cymbals and dances : praise him upon the strings and pipe. 5 Praise him upon the well-tuned cymbals : praise him upon the loud cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath : praise the Lord.
For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan while paying heed to his works; but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. Yet these people are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him. For while they live among his works, they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful. Yet again, not even they are to be excused; for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
‘And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens: ‘I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Here are the Lessons for the Friday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Benedictus Dominus BLESSED be the Lord my strength : who teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight; 2 My hope and my fortress, my castle and deliverer, my defender in whom I trust : who subdueth my people that is under me. 3 Lord, what is man, that thou hast such respect unto him : or the son of man, that thou so regardest him? 4 Man is like a thing of nought : his time passeth away like a shadow. 5 Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down : touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. 6 Cast forth thy lightning, and tear them : shoot out thine arrows, and consume them. 7 Send down thine hand from above : deliver me, and take me out of the great waters, from the hand of strange children; 8 Whose mouth talketh of vanity : and their right hand is a right hand of wickedness. 9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God : and sing praises unto thee upon a ten-stringed lute. 10 Thou hast given victory unto kings : and hast delivered David thy servant from the peril of the sword. 11 Save me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children : whose mouth talketh of vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of iniquity. 12 That our sons may grow up as the young plants : and that our daughters may be as the polished corners of the temple. 13 That our garners may be full and plenteous with all manner of store : that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets. 14 That our oxen may be strong to labour, that there be no decay : no leading into captivity, and no complaining in our streets. 15 Happy are the people that are in such a case : yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God.
For who will say, ‘What have you done?’ or will resist your judgement? Who will accuse you for the destruction of nations that you made? Or who will come before you to plead as an advocate for the unrighteous? For neither is there any god besides you, whose care is for all people, to whom you should prove that you have not judged unjustly; nor can any king or monarch confront you about those whom you have punished. You are righteous and you rule all things righteously, deeming it alien to your power to condemn anyone who does not deserve to be punished. For your strength is the source of righteousness, and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all. For you show your strength when people doubt the completeness of your power, and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it. Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, and with great forbearance you govern us; for you have power to act whenever you choose. Through such works you have taught your people that the righteous must be kind, and you have filled your children with good hope, because you give repentance for sins.
‘And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works; you have a name for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is at the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
At the end of Pent'cost every knee shall bow
to the god of commerce, and the shopping Tao;
we can wait for liturgy, we won't go to church;
for the perfect gift we now must start the search.
Some would say it's Advent, we would say "who cares"
After Giving Thanks, it's time to browse those wares.
Head we toward our temple, to our golden shrine,
Take your hands away sir; it's not yours, it's mine.
Name him shoppers, name him, with love strong as debt,
You must not count the cost; get what you can get.
Head now we toward Bethl'hem - snowy Christmas Eve!
Magic midnight music, then it's time to leave.
We climbed up the Zion of the shopping mall.
We dined at the food court, Mannon's banquet hall.
Christ had his Black Friday: manger to the cross.
Without Jesus' Advent there is only loss.
(tune: King's Weston)
Here are the Lessons for the Thursday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalm 140, 141:1–4
PSALM 140. Eripe me, Domine DELIVER me, O Lord, from the evil man : and preserve me from the wicked man. 2 Who imagine mischief in their hearts : and stir up strife all the day long. 3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent : adders' poison is under their lips. 4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the ungodly : preserve me from the wicked men, who are purposed to overthrow my goings. 5 The proud have laid a snare for me, and spread a net abroad with cords : yea, and set traps in my way. 6 I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God : hear the voice of my prayers, O Lord. 7 O Lord God, thou strength of my health : thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Let not the ungodly have his desire, O Lord : let not his mischievous imagination prosper, lest they be too proud. 9 Let the mischief of their own lips fall upon the head of them : that compass me about. 10 Let hot burning coals fall upon them : let them be cast into the fire and into the pit, that they never rise up again. 11 A man full of words shall not prosper upon the earth : evil shall hunt the wicked person to overthrow him. 12 Sure I am that the Lord will avenge the poor : and maintain the cause of the helpless. 13 The righteous also shall give thanks unto thy Name : and the just shall continue in thy sight. PSALM 141. Domine, clamavi LORD, I call upon thee, haste thee unto me : and consider my voice when I cry unto thee. 2 Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight as the incense : and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. 3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth : and keep the door of my lips. 4 O let not mine heart be inclined to any evil thing : let me not be occupied in ungodly works with the men that work wickedness, lest I eat of such things as please them.
For it is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the might of your arm? Because the whole world before you is like a speck that tips the scales, and like a drop of morning dew that falls on the ground. But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things, and you overlook people’s sins, so that they may repent. For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living. For your immortal spirit is in all things. Therefore you correct little by little those who trespass, and you remind and warn them of the things through which they sin, so that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in you, O Lord.
‘And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword: ‘I know where you are living, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling-block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practise fornication. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.
Here are the Lessons for the Wednesday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Domine, probasti O LORD, thou hast searched me out and known me : thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising, thou understandest my thoughts long before. 2 Thou art about my path, and about my bed : and spiest out all my ways. 3 For lo, there is not a word in my tongue : but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether. 4 Thou hast fashioned me behind and before : and laid thine hand upon me. 5 Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me : I cannot attain unto it. 6 Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit : or whither shall I go then from thy presence? 7 If I climb up into heaven, thou art there : if I go down to hell, thou art there also. 8 If I take the wings of the morning : and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; 9 Even there also shall thy hand lead me : and thy right hand shall hold me. 10 If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me : then shall my night be turned to day. 11 Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day : the darkness and light to thee are both alike. 12 For my reins are thine : thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 13 I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. 14 My bones are not hid from thee : though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth. 15 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect : and in thy book were all my members written; 16 Which day by day were fashioned : when as yet there was none of them. 17 How dear are thy counsels unto me, O God : O how great is the sum of them! 18 If I tell them, they are more in number than the sand : when I wake up I am present with thee. 19 Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God : depart from me, ye blood-thirsty men. 20 For they speak unrighteously against thee : and thine enemies take thy Name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee : and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 Yea, I hate them right sore : even as though they were mine enemies. 23 Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart : prove me, and examine my thoughts. 24 Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me : and lead me in the way everlasting.
Wisdom 10:1–4, 15–21
Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world, when he alone had been created; she delivered him from his transgression, and gave him strength to rule all things. But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger, he perished because in rage he killed his brother. When the earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it, steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood. A holy people and blameless race wisdom delivered from a nation of oppressors. She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord, and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs. She gave to holy people the reward of their labours; she guided them along a marvellous way, and became a shelter to them by day, and a starry flame through the night. She brought them over the Red Sea, and led them through deep waters; but she drowned their enemies, and cast them up from the depths of the sea. Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly; they sang hymns, O Lord, to your holy name, and praised with one accord your defending hand; for wisdom opened the mouths of those who were mute, and made the tongues of infants speak clearly.
‘To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands: ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God. ‘And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life: ‘I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.
Here are the Lessons for the Tuesday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Memento, Domine LORD, remember David : and all his trouble; 2 How he sware unto the Lord : and vowed a vow unto the Almighty God of Jacob; 3 I will not come within the tabernacle of mine house : nor climb up into my bed; 4 I will not suffer mine eyes to sleep, nor mine eye-lids to slumber : neither the temples of my head to take any rest; 5 Until I find out a place for the temple of the Lord : an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. 6 Lo, we heard of the same at Ephrata : and found it in the wood. 7 We will go into his tabernacle : and fall low on our knees before his footstool. 8 Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place : thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness : and let thy saints sing with joyfulness. 10 For thy servant David's sake : turn not away the presence of thine Anointed. 11 The Lord hath made a faithful oath unto David : and he shall not shrink from it; 12 Of the fruit of thy body : shall I set upon thy seat. 13 If thy children will keep my covenant, and my testimonies that I shall learn them : their children also shall sit upon thy seat for evermore. 14 For the Lord hath chosen Sion to be an habitation for himself : he hath longed for her. 15 This shall be my rest for ever : here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein. 16 I will bless her victuals with increase : and will satisfy her poor with bread. 17 I will deck her priests with health : and her saints shall rejoice and sing. 18 There shall I make the horn of David to flourish : I have ordained a lantern for mine Anointed. 19 As for his enemies, I shall clothe them with shame : but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
For who can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills? For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail; for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind. We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labour; but who has traced out what is in the heavens? Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus the paths of those on earth were set right, and people were taught what pleases you, and were saved by wisdom.’
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Here are the Lessons for the Monday after the Sunday next before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalms 131, 133, 134
PSALM 131. Domine, non est LORD, I am not high-minded : I have no proud looks. 2 I do not exercise myself in great matters : which are too high for me. 3 But I refrain my soul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother : yea, my soul is even as a weaned child. 4 O Israel, trust in the Lord : from this time forth for evermore. PSALM 133. Ecce, quam bonum! BEHOLD, how good and joyful a thing it is : brethren, to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down unto the beard : even unto Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his clothing. 3 Like as the dew of Hermon : which fell upon the hill of Sion. 4 For there the Lord promised his blessing : and life for evermore. PSALM 134. Ecce nunc BEHOLD now, praise the Lord : all ye servants of the Lord; 2 Ye that by night stand in the house of the Lord: even in the courts of the house of our God. 3 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary : and praise the Lord. 4 The Lord that made heaven and earth : give thee blessing out of Sion.
Wisdom 9:1–4, 9-11
‘O God of my ancestors and Lord of mercy, who have made all things by your word, and by your wisdom have formed humankind to have dominion over the creatures you have made, and rule the world in holiness and righteousness, and pronounce judgement in uprightness of soul, give me the wisdom that sits by your throne, and do not reject me from among your servants. With you is wisdom, she who knows your works and was present when you made the world; she understands what is pleasing in your sight and what is right according to your commandments. Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may labour at my side, and that I may learn what is pleasing to you. For she knows and understands all things, and she will guide me wisely in my actions and guard me with her glory.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Q: How are you?
A: I'm fine thanks.
Q: You've become sort of notorious for your carol service spreadsheet habit, haven't you?
A: It seems that way. I am constantly receiving inquiries about these documents, and the requests become much more frequent this time of year. Would you like some tea?
Q: Yes, please. Thank you!
A: Milk and sugar?
Q: Just a spot of milk. Thanks.
A: Here you are.
Q: How many carol service spreadsheets do you have?
A: We have two. One is for the famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols held every Christmas Eve in King's College, Cambridge, England. The other is for the Advent Carol Service held at the nearby St. John's College, Cambridge.
Q: Why are the carol spreadsheets hosted as Google documents rather than, say, a PDF?
A: Because there will (God willing) always be another service to add to our list in a year's time. This way, rather than passing out PDFs that are outdated in a year, all anyone ever needs is to bookmark a link to the service. We at Sinden.org update the sheets as soon as we have the new information.
Q: When will the carol service spreadsheets be updated this year?
A: The John's sheet was updated today. The King's sheet will be updated as soon as we can confirm the service details.
Q: What information can be found in these two spreadsheets?
A: The spreadsheets track the information about the carols, hymns, and other music sung in these services. Aside from the hymns, there is quite a bit of variety in these selections, and it's instructive to see how the "problem" of planning a carol service is handled from year to year. Both colleges are in the habit of commissioning new works for these services, and these pieces are highlighted in red.
Q: Do you keep track of the lessons too?
A: Yes, although these change much less frequently, if at all.
Q: What other sorts of activities are carried out on Sinden.org in connection to the King's service?
A: Well, there's our annual habit of fruitless conjecture about what will be sung (Predictions) and our annual Preview of the service once we have compared the service details to past services and carols.
Q: What should someone do if they have corrections or additions to the spreadsheets?
A: They should email me at email@example.com. If they have a full year's service that I don't have in the King's spreadsheet I will reward them with homemade cookies.
Q: Isn't this all kind of silly?
A: Not at all! There's a tremendous beauty in a set form that is carried out in very much the same way from year to year. This is particularly true in the case of King's service which has been going on for nearly 100 years now. Many people from all around the world find this kind of annual rhythm incredibly persuasive and tune in via the radio and internet every year to take part in this liturgy. Many parts of the service are exactly the same from year to year, but just as the personnel of the choir and the chapel change, so we, too, encounter this service anew after another year and its blessings and trials, comings and goings. We celebrate Christmas in new ways, and with new music, even as we connect with our past selves and relationships through memory and sound.
Q: Then why don't we do this at Easter too?
A: Not sure.
Here are the Lessons for the Saturday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalm 99, 100
PSALM 99. Dominus regnavit THE Lord is King, be the people never so unpatient : he sitteth between the cherubims, be the earth never so unquiet. 2 The Lord is great in Sion : and high above all people. 3 They shall give thanks unto thy Name : which is great, wonderful, and holy. 4 The King's power loveth judgement; thou hast prepared equity : thou hast executed judgement and righteousness in Jacob. 5 O magnify the Lord our God : and fall down before his footstool, for he is holy. 6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among such as call upon his Name : these called upon the Lord, and he heard them. 7 He spake unto them out of the cloudy pillar : for they kept his testimonies, and the law that he gave them. 8 Thou heardest them, O Lord our God : thou forgavest them, O God, and punishedst their own inventions. 9 O magnify the Lord our God, and worship him upon his holy hill : for the Lord our God is holy. PSALM 100. Jubilate Deo O BE joyful in the Lord, all ye lands : serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. 2 Be ye sure that the Lord he is God : it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 3 O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise : be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name. 4 For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting : and his truth endureth from generation to generation.
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom. She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance. Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgement of the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct. Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love-feasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved for ever. It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘See, the Lord is coming with tens of thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgement on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’ These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage. But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.’ It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies. Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
Here are the Lessons for the Friday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalms 125, 126, 127
PSALM 125. Qui confidunt THEY that put their trust in the Lord shall be even as the mount Sion : which may not be removed, but standeth fast for ever. 2 The hills stand about Jerusalem : even so standeth the Lord round about his people, from this time forth for evermore. 3 For the rod of the ungodly cometh not into the lot of the righteous : lest the righteous put their hand unto wickedness. 4 Do well, O Lord : unto those that are good and true of heart. 5 As for such as turn back unto their own wickedness : the Lord shall lead them forth with the evil-doers; but peace shall be upon Israel. PSALM 126. In convertendo WHEN the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion : then were we like unto them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter : and our tongue with joy. 3 Then said they among the heathen : The Lord hath done great things for them. 4 Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already : whereof we rejoice. 5 Turn our captivity, O Lord : as the rivers in the south. 6 They that sow in tears : shall reap in joy. 7 He that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth good seed : shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him. PSALM 127. Nisi Dominus EXCEPT the Lord build the house : their labour is but lost that build it. 2 Except the Lord keep the city : the watchman waketh but in vain. 3 It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness : for so he giveth his beloved sleep. 4 Lo, children and the fruit of the womb : are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord. 5 Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant : even so are the young children. 6 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them : they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
May God grant me to speak with judgement, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received; for he is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in his hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals, the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings, the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots; I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
2 Thess. 3:6
Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
Here are the Lessons for the Thursday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalms 121, 122
PSALM 121. Levavi oculos I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills : from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh even from the Lord : who hath made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved : and he that keepeth thee will not sleep. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel : shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord himself is thy keeper : the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand; 6 So that the sun shall not burn thee by day : neither the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil : yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in : from this time forth for evermore. PSALM 122. Laetatus sum I WAS glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord. 2 Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem. 3 Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself. 4 For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord : to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord. 5 For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David. 6 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee. 7 Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and companions' sakes : I will wish thee prosperity. 9 Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God : I will seek to do thee good.
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to sceptres and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases. All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth. I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them; but I did not know that she was their mother. I learned without guile and I impart without grudging; I do not hide her wealth, for it is an unfailing treasure for mortals; those who get it obtain friendship with God, commended for the gifts that come from instruction.
2 Thess. 2:13–3:5
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Here are the Lessons for the Wednesday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Confitemini Domino O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious : because his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let Israel now confess that he is gracious : and that his mercy endureth for ever. 3 Let the house of Aaron now confess : that his mercy endureth for ever. 4 Yea, let them now that fear the Lord confess : that his mercy endureth for ever. 5 I called upon the Lord in trouble : and the Lord heard me at large. 6 The Lord is on my side : I will not fear what man doeth unto me. 7 The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon mine enemies. 8 It is better to trust in the Lord : than to put any confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord : than to put any confidence in princes. 10 All nations compassed me round about : but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them. 11 They kept me in on every side, they kept me in, I say, on every side : but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them. 12 They came about me like bees, and are extinct even as the fire among the thorns : for in the Name of the Lord I will destroy them. 13 Thou hast thrust sore at me, that I might fall : but the Lord was my help. 14 The Lord is my strength, and my song : and is become my salvation. 15 The voice of joy and health is in the dwellings of the righteous : the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass. 16 The right hand of the Lord hath the pre-eminence : the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass. 17 I shall not die, but live : and declare the works of the Lord. 18 The Lord hath chastened and corrected me : but he hath not given me over unto death. 19 Open me the gates of righteousness : that I may go into them, and give thanks unto the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord : the righteous shall enter into it. 21 I will thank thee, for thou hast heard me : and art become my salvation. 22 The same stone which the builders refused : is become the head-stone in the corner. 23 This is the Lord's doing : and it is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the Lord hath made : we will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Help me now, O Lord : O Lord, send us now prosperity. 26 Blessed be he that cometh in the Name of the Lord : we have wished you good luck, ye that are of the house of the Lord. 27 God is the Lord who hath shewed us light : bind the sacrifice with cords, yea, even unto the horns of the altar. 28 Thou art my God, and I will thank thee : thou art my God, and I will praise thee. 29 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious: and his mercy endureth for ever.
Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate. To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought. The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her, and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality, and immortality brings one near to God; so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom. Therefore if you delight in thrones and sceptres, O monarchs over the peoples, honour wisdom, so that you may reign for ever.
2 Thess. 2:1–12
As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.
Here are the Lessons for the Tuesday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Psalms 111, 112
PSALM 111. Confitebor tibi I WILL give thanks unto the Lord with my whole heart : secretly among the faithful, and in the congregation. 2 The works of the Lord are great : sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. 3 His work is worthy to be praised and had in honour : and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 The merciful and gracious Lord hath so done his marvellous works : that they ought to be had in remembrance. 5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him : he shall ever be mindful of his covenant. 6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works : that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. 7 The works of his hands are verity and judgement : all his commandments are true. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever : and are done in truth and equity. 9 He sent redemption unto his people : he hath commanded his covenant for ever; holy and reverend is his Name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom : a good understanding have all they that do thereafter; the praise of it endureth for ever. PSALM 112. Beatus vir BLESSED is the man that feareth the Lord : he hath great delight in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth : the generation of the faithful shall be blessed. 3 Riches and plenteousness shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 Unto the godly there ariseth up light in the darkness : he is merciful, loving, and righteous. 5 A good man is merciful, and lendeth : and will guide his words with discretion. 6 For he shall never be moved : and the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. 7 He will not be afraid of any evil tidings : for his heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord. 8 His heart is established, and will not shrink : until he see his desire upon his enemies. 9 He hath dispersed abroad, and given to the poor : and his righteousness remaineth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. 10 The ungodly shall see it, and it shall grieve him : he shall gnash with his teeth, and consume away; the desire of the ungodly shall perish.
Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgement falls on those in high places. For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty. To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress. For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defence. Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed.
2 Thess. 1
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marvelled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here are the Lessons for the Monday after the Second Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Confitemini Domino O GIVE thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious : and his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let them give thanks whom the Lord hath redeemed : and delivered from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east and from the west : from the north and from the south. 4 They went astray in the wilderness out of the way : and found no city to dwell in; 5 Hungry and thirsty : their soul fainted in them. 6 So they cried unto the Lord in their trouble : and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them forth by the right way : that they might go to the city where they dwelt. 8 O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness : and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the empty soul : and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. 10 Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : being fast bound in misery and iron; 11 Because they rebelled against the words of the Lord : and lightly regarded the counsel of the most Highest; 12 He also brought down their heart through heaviness : they fell down, and there was none to help them. 13 So when they cried unto the Lord in their trouble : he delivered them out of their distress. 14 For he brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death : and brake their bonds in sunder. 15 O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness : and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men! 16 For he hath broken the gates of brass : and smitten the bars of iron in sunder. 17 Foolish men are plagued for their offence : and because of their wickedness. 18 Their soul abhorred all manner of meat : and they were even hard at death's door. 19 So when they cried unto the Lord in their trouble : he delivered them out of their distress. 20 He sent his word, and healed them : and they were saved from their destruction. 21 O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness : and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men! 22 That they would offer unto him the sacrifice of thanksgiving : and tell out his works with gladness! 23 They that go down to the sea in ships : and occupy their business in great waters; 24 These men see the works of the Lord : and his wonders in the deep. 25 For at his word the stormy wind ariseth : which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They are carried up to the heaven, and down again to the deep : their soul melteth away because of the trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man : and are at their wits' end. 28 So when they cry unto the Lord in their trouble : he delivereth them out of their distress. 29 For he maketh the storm to cease : so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad, because they are at rest : and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be. 31 O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness : and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men! 32 That they would exalt him also in the congregation of the people : and praise him in the seat of the elders! 33 Who turneth the floods into a wilderness : and drieth up the water-springs. 34 A fruitful land maketh he barren : for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. 35 Again, he maketh the wilderness a standing water : and water-springs of a dry ground. 36 And there he setteth the hungry : that they may build them a city to dwell in; 37 That they may sow their land, and plant vineyards : to yield them fruits of increase. 38 He blesseth them so that they multiply exceedingly : and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. 39 And again, when they are minished and brought low : through oppression, through any plague or trouble; 40 Though he suffer them to be evil intreated through tyrants : and let them wander out of the way in the wilderness; 41 Yet helpeth he the poor out of misery : and maketh him households like a flock of sheep. 42 The righteous will consider this, and rejoice : and the mouth of all wickedness shall be stopped. 43 Whoso is wise will ponder these things : and they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.
Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth, think of the Lord in goodness and seek him with sincerity of heart; because he is found by those who do not put him to the test, and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him. For perverse thoughts separate people from God, and when his power is tested, it exposes the foolish; because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, or dwell in a body enslaved to sin. For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit, and will leave foolish thoughts behind, and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness. For wisdom is a kindly spirit, but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words; because God is witness of their inmost feelings, and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues. Because the spirit of the Lord has filled the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said,
1 Thess. 5:12
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. Beloved, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The wonderful American organist and noted improviser Gerre Hancock also composed choral music.
The anthem "Judge eternal, throned in splendor" is, perhaps, his best-known choral work.
I love the music of this anthem. It's glorious and grand. It's insistent and assertive. Yet at its core is a lovely lyricism - a real melodic masterstroke. (For evidence of this, look no further than this melody's use as a hymn tune SANDRIA)
But in all of this music, I cannot help but hear the elegant beauty Hancock – and other Americans of his generation, including Aaron Copland – learned at the feet of French pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
And so it is the "French" sound of this anthem that I hear after the events of Friday in Paris.
These words, and many others, ring out with greater poignancy in the aftermath of events such as these. The author is Henry Scott Holland.
Judge eternal, throned in splendor, Lord of lords and King of kings, with thy living fire of judgment purge this land of bitter things; solace all its wide dominion with the healing of thy wings. Still the weary folk are pining for the hour that brings release, and the city's crowded clangor cries aloud for sin to cease; and the homesteads and the woodlands plead in silence for their peace. Crown, O God, thine own endeavor; cleave our darkness with thy sword; feed all those who do not know thee with the richness of thy word; cleanse the body of this nation through the glory of the Lord.
These words will be sung to the "French" music of Hancock at the parish where I serve on Sunday morning.
These words also appear in the Hymnal 1982 at Hymn 596.
Here are the Lessons for the Saturday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Exaltabo te, Deus I WILL magnify thee, O God, my King : and I will praise thy Name for ever and ever. 2 Every day will I give thanks unto thee : and praise thy Name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord, and marvellous worthy to be praised : there is no end of his greatness. 4 One generation shall praise thy works unto another : and declare thy power. 5 As for me, I will be talking of thy worship : thy glory, thy praise, and wondrous works; 6 So that men shall speak of the might of thy marvellous acts : and I will also tell of thy greatness. 7 The memorial of thine abundant kindness shall be shewed : and men shall sing of thy righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful : long-suffering and of great goodness. 9 The Lord is loving unto every man : and his mercy is over all his works. 10 All thy works praise thee, O Lord : and thy saints give thanks unto thee. 11 They shew the glory of thy kingdom : and talk of thy power; 12 That thy power, thy glory, and mightiness of thy kingdom : might be known unto men. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom : and thy dominion endureth throughout all ages. 14 The Lord upholdeth all such as fall : and lifteth up all those that are down. 15 The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord : and thou givest them their meat in due season. 16 Thou openest thine hand : and fillest all things living with plenteousness. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways : and holy in all his works. 18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him : yea, all such as call upon him faithfully. 19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him : he also will hear their cry, and will help them. 20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him : but scattereth abroad all the ungodly. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord : and let all flesh give thanks unto his holy Name for ever and ever.
Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
1 Thess. 5:1–11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
Here are the Lessons for the Friday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Domine, exaudi HEAR my prayer, O Lord : and let my crying come unto thee. 2 Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble : incline thine ear unto me when I call; O hear me, and that right soon. 3 For my days are consumed away like smoke : and my bones are burnt up as it were a fire-brand. 4 My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass : so that I forget to eat my bread. 5 For the voice of my groaning : my bones will scarce cleave to my flesh. 6 I am become like a pelican in the wilderness : and like an owl that is in the desert. 7 I have watched, and am even as it were a sparrow : that sitteth alone upon the house-top. 8 Mine enemies revile me all the day long : and they that are mad upon me are sworn together against me. 9 For I have eaten ashes as it were bread : and mingled my drink with weeping; 10 And that because of thine indignation and wrath : for thou hast taken me up, and cast me down. 11 My days are gone like a shadow : and I am withered like grass. 12 But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever : and thy remembrance throughout all generations. 13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Sion : for it is time that thou have mercy upon her, yea, the time is come. 14 And why? thy servants think upon her stones: and it pitieth them to see her in the dust. 15 The heathen shall fear thy Name, O Lord : and all the kings of the earth thy majesty; 16 When the Lord shall build up Sion : and when his glory shall appear; 17 When he turneth him unto the prayer of the poor destitute : and despiseth not their desire. 18 This shall be written for those that come after: and the people which shall be born shall praise the Lord. 19 For he hath looked down from his sanctuary : out of the heaven did the Lord behold the earth; 20 That he might hear the mournings of such as are in captivity : and deliver the children appointed unto death; 21 That they may declare the Name of the Lord in Sion : and his worship at Jerusalem; 22 When the people are gathered together : and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord. 23 He brought down my strength in my journey: and shortened my days. 24 But I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of mine age : as for thy years, they endure throughout all generations. 25 Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure : they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 27 And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed : but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 28 The children of thy servants shall continue : and their seed shall stand fast in thy sight.
Deut. 29:2, 9-21
Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, Therefore diligently observe the words of this covenant, in order that you may succeed in everything that you do. You stand assembled today, all of you, before the Lord your God—the leaders of your tribes, your elders, and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your women, and the aliens who are in your camp, both those who cut your wood and those who draw your water— to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, sworn by an oath, which the Lord your God is making with you today; in order that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I am making this covenant, sworn by an oath, not only with you who stand here with us today before the Lord our God, but also with those who are not here with us today. You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. You have seen their detestable things, the filthy idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, that were among them. It may be that there is among you a man or woman, or a family or tribe, whose heart is already turning away from the Lord our God to serve the gods of those nations. It may be that there is among you a root sprouting poisonous and bitter growth. All who hear the words of this oath and bless themselves, thinking in their hearts, “We are safe even though we go our own stubborn ways” (thus bringing disaster on moist and dry alike)— the Lord will be unwilling to pardon them, for the Lord’s anger and passion will smoke against them. All the curses written in this book will descend on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.
1 Thess. 4:13–18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Here are the Lessons for the Thursday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Benedic, anima mea PRAISE the Lord, O my soul : and all that is within me praise his holy Name. 2 Praise the Lord, O my soul : and forget not all his benefits; 3 Who forgiveth all thy sin : and healeth all thine infirmities; 4 Who saveth thy life from destruction : and crowneth thee with mercy and loving-kindness; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things : making thee young and lusty as an eagle. 6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgement : for all them that are oppressed with wrong. 7 He shewed his ways unto Moses : his works unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy : long-suffering, and of great goodness. 9 He will not alway be chiding : neither keepeth he his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins : nor rewarded us according to our wickednesses. 11 For look how high the heaven is in comparison of the earth : so great is his mercy also toward them that fear him. 12 Look how wide also the east is from the west : so far hath he set our sins from us. 13 Yea, like as a father pitieth his own children : even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth whereof we are made : he remembereth that we are but dust. 15 The days of man are but as grass : for he flourisheth as a flower of the field. 16 For as soon as the wind goeth over it, it is gone: and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the merciful goodness of the Lord endureth for ever and ever upon them that fear him: and his righteousness upon children's children; 18 Even upon such as keep his covenant : and think upon his commandments to do them. 19 The Lord hath prepared his seat in heaven : and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 O praise the Lord, ye angels of his, ye that excel in strength : ye that fulfil his commandment, and hearken unto the voice of his words. 21 O praise the Lord, all ye his hosts : ye servants of his that do his pleasure. 22 O speak good of the Lord, all ye works of his, in all places of his dominion : praise thou the Lord, O my soul.
If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you; they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns, and in all that you undertake; he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. All the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head, and not the tail; you shall be only at the top, and not at the bottom—if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, by diligently observing them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I am commanding you today, either to the right or to the left, following other gods to serve them.
1 Thess. 4:1–12
Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you. Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.
Here are the Lessons for the Wednesday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision. Today is also the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, after whom this "Lent of St. Martin" is named (introduction here).
Bonum est confiteri IT is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord : and to sing praises unto thy Name, O most Highest; 2 To tell of thy loving-kindness early in the morning : and of thy truth in the night-season; 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the lute : upon a loud instrument, and upon the harp. 4 For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy works : and I will rejoice in giving praise for the operations of thy hands. 5 O Lord, how glorious are thy works : thy thoughts are very deep. 6 An unwise man doth not well consider this : and a fool doth not understand it. 7 When the ungodly are green as the grass, and when all the workers of wickedness do flourish : then shall they be destroyed for ever; but thou, Lord, art the most Highest for evermore. 8 For lo, thine enemies, O Lord, lo, thine enemies shall perish : and all the workers of wickedness shall be destroyed. 9 But mine horn shall be exalted like the horn of an unicorn : for I am anointed with fresh oil. 10 Mine eye also shall see his lust of mine enemies : and mine ear shall hear his desire of the wicked that arise up against me. 11 The righteous shall flourish like a palm-tree : and shall spread abroad like a cedar in Libanus. 12 Such as are planted in the house of the Lord : shall flourish in the courts of the house of our God. 13 They also shall bring forth more fruit in their age : and shall be fat and well-liking. 14 That they may shew how true the Lord my strength is : and that there is no unrighteousness in him.
When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.
1 Thess. 2:17–3:13
As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy! Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens; and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain. But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Here are the Lessons for the Tuesday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision.
Qui habitat WHOSO dwelleth under the defence of the most High : shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say unto the Lord, Thou art my hope, and my strong hold : my God, in him will I trust. 3 For he shall deliver thee from the snare of the hunter : and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall defend thee under his wings, and thou shalt be safe under his feathers : his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for any terror by night: nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 For the pestilence that walketh in darkness : nor for the sickness that destroyeth in the noon-day. 7 A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten thousand at thy right hand : but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Yea, with thine eyes shalt thou behold : and see the reward of the ungodly. 9 For thou, Lord, art my hope : thou hast set thine house of defence very high. 10 There shall no evil happen unto thee : neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee : to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee in their hands : that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt go upon the lion and adder : the young lion and the dragon shalt thou tread under thy feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him : I will set him up, because he hath known my Name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will hear him : yea, I am with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and bring him to honour. 16 With long life will I satisfy him : and shew him my salvation.
Deut. 25:1–3, 13–16
Suppose two persons have a dispute and enter into litigation, and the judges decide between them, declaring one to be in the right and the other to be in the wrong. If the one in the wrong deserves to be flogged, the judge shall make that person lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes proportionate to the offense. Forty lashes may be given but not more; if more lashes than these are given, your neighbor will be degraded in your sight. You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, large and small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, large and small. You shall have only a full and honest weight; you shall have only a full and honest measure, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are abhorrent to the Lord your God.
1 Thess. 2:1–16
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.
Here are the Lessons for the Monday after the Third Sunday before Advent from the 1928 BCP Lectionary, 1945 revision (introduction here)
Domine, refugium LORD, thou hast been our refuge : from one generation to another. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made : thou art God from everlasting, and world without end. 3 Thou turnest man to destruction : again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men. 4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yester-day : seeing that is past as a watch in the night. 5 As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep : and fade away suddenly like the grass. 6 In the morning it is green, and groweth up : but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered. 7 For we consume away in thy displeasure : and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation. 8 Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee : and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. 9 For when thou art angry all our days are gone : we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told. 10 The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years : yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone. 11 But who regardeth the power of thy wrath : for even thereafter as a man feareth, so is thy displeasure. 12 So teach us to number our days : that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 13 Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last : and be gracious unto thy servants. 14 O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon : so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life. 15 Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us : and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity. 16 Shew thy servants thy work : and their children thy glory. 17 And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us : prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handywork.
When you make your neighbor a loan of any kind, you shall not go into the house to take the pledge. You shall wait outside, while the person to whom you are making the loan brings the pledge out to you. If the person is poor, you shall not sleep in the garment given you as the pledge. You shall give the pledge back by sunset, so that your neighbor may sleep in the cloak and bless you; and it will be to your credit before the Lord your God. You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only for their own crimes may persons be put to death. You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
I Thess. 1
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
On Wednesday, November 11, comes this year's Feast of St. Martin of Tours and the Advent of Advent. There is an old tradition of "the Lent of St. Martin" (see a description here) being a sort of intentional pre-Advent season. A waiting before the waiting.
I'm interested in this.
If you look, you can find little vestiges of this pre-Advent show up in places.
Like this collect from last Sunday, Proper 27.
O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
There's some Advent language in there.
Our English brothers and sisters observe a "Sunday Next before Advent" in their prayer books. It's the same day that we Americans Anglicans call "The Last Sunday after Pentecost"
Last Sunday after Pentecost Tangent: Please note that the title "Christ the King" or any such thing appears nowhere in any Anglican prayer book, but that's another topic for another time.
The American Book of Common Prayer from 1928 comes closest to reclaiming the pre-Advent tradition. But it's found in a revision to that book's Lectionary in 1945 [PDF].
In this lectionary, the three Sundays prior to Advent Sunday are
Note also that Proper 27 (above) corresponds with the Third Sunday before Advent.
Also notable in this 1945 lectionary: the Sundays of Advent proper are Sundays "in" Advent, not Sundays "of" Advent as we find in the current 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The difference is subtle, but the older nomenclature suggests a more penitential nature of the season of Advent. The 1979 retains this "Sundays in" terminology only for the season of Lent.
So, here on the blog, let's explore, over the next three weeks, what the Evening Prayer lessons would be like in this pre-Advent season, shall we?
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Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the goldenrod (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.