Sacred Music Friday: Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates

I’m a sucker for any hymn that uses the hymn tune Truro as it brings back fond and happy memories of my days at the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City and the hymn “O Life That Maketh All Things New.” The lyrics to this one, though, are highly appropriate for Advent.

Sacred Music Friday: Prepare the Way O Zion

Form a lectionary standpoint this belongs on Advent 2, but it’s still Advent nonetheless.

Sacred Music Friday: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

From a VOCES8 recording session for their album, Equinox.

Sacred Music Friday: O come, O come, Emmanuel

Sunday is Advent 2

Sacred Music Friday: Come, Come, Emmanuel

Come, Come, Emmanuel, the TAFPC Choir

talking to someone who gets it

Yesterday’s Gospel lectionary reading was the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, Luke 1:39-45.  When we read in Luke about that journey we don’t think much about it.

quoteIn those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Tradition says that that Mary and Elizabeth were somehow related, perhaps cousins. But as Pastor Kathleen pointed out yesterday morning, this was an extraordinary, probably unheard of, journey. First, Mary was likely a teenager. Luke 2 tells us that Joseph went from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem for the census. So Mary must have been in Nazareth with her husband Joseph when she set out. As the quote above tells us, Elizabeth and Zechariah lived in the hill country of Judea, outside of Jerusalem, in the South of the former united kingdom of Israel. Remember that Galilee is in the North, in the region then still known as Israel. That would have been quite the journey for Mary. Fifty miles at least, Kathleen said. And as she pointed out, not only did Mary not have a driver’s license, but there weren’t any cars then anyway.

So why, Kathleen asks, after hearing from the angel the news that she we would be giving birth to the Messiah, would Mary have made such a journey when she no doubt had relatives in Galilee to whom she could talk, and probably a BFF or two there as well. Kathleen suggests that Mary wanted to talk to someone who would “get it.” The much older Elizabeth conceived in a miraculous manner as did the young Mary. Elizabeth would get it.

Kathleen went on to say that we all need someone to talk to in our lives who will get it. I’m fortunate to have people in my life I can talk to who will get it. My wife Terry, certainly. Definitely my spiritual director. My brother and sister-in-law for certain things and my dad for others.

I hope you have that person or those people in your life as well.

Sacred Music Friday: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Clare College Choir, Cambridge

2 Advent 2015

Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent. A week ago we had prophecy (Jeremiah) in the lectionary readings, as my friend Tahoe Mom mentioned. We also had an apocalyptic reading for the Gospel, something that happens every year on the first Sunday of Advent, and something that, finally, I am getting used to.

This week we had prophecy again (Malachi), but we also heard the Song of Zechariah and got an introduction to John the Baptist. We move forward from one week to the next. Advent is a journey, as Tahoe Mom points out.

Tahoe Mom wrote about that journey last week, on the first Sunday of Advent. Her reflection touched me so much that I wanted to share part of it with you. But I commend to you the entire blog entry.

quoteSpiritually we travel these next four weeks with no assurances that there will be a place to stay when we get to the end. And certainly no palaces or cool hotel suites await us ~ only a back yard stable and the pain of birth. Never the less, we make the journey, somehow confident that at the end, Light will arrive and if necessary, we will make the journey all over again. Crazy? Yes. Amazing? Yes as well. Blessings on our way.

Advent blessings to all of you who celebrate the season.

Sacred Music Friday: O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright

I usually avoid performances recorded with handheld cameras here on Sacred Music Friday, but the harmony is lovely, so I hope you’ll put up with the somewhat shaky video.

Advent 2015

Advent began on Sunday. It is a bit early this year. Christmas falls on a Friday, so we were still in November as Advent began. But still, not a moment too soon. That green season after Pentecost stretches on for a terribly long time, and a long one it was this year. We arrived in Hemet on 6 May, the day after Cinco de Mayo, when the movers arrived at our old house. Pentecost was 24 May, and Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, was 31 May. It is now Advent. Much has happened in these many months. If you have been reading this blog you know. If not, you can click “SoCal Life” in the category map to the right to find out.

Certainly when Advent began last year, I never would have expected that we would be where we are today. But life takes unexpected turns and we adapt.

There was a time when I was big on enforcing Advent, meaning that one is not supposed to listen to Christmas music until Christmas Eve. My spiritual director, in one of her last sermons at her old parish before moving on to a very active retirement said, in essence, if you want to listen to Christmas carols during Advent, go ahead.

That’s good advice. I need to be gentle on myself this year, so I think that I’ll take it.