While much of Advent carries the themes of penitence, longing, and other somber tones, the readings for this week strike a decidedly more joyful note. Isaiah prophesies that God is about to "create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people." In Psalm 126, we read: "Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." And our epistle reading admonishes us to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." While we are waiting and praying "Lord Jesus, come", while we are sighing with the pains and sorrows of this broken world, we are reminded that there is a joy to come for all who trust in Christ. The first coming caused the heavens to break open and the angels to sing, and when Jesus comes again, all will be made right, creation will be restored and renewed, and we will dwell in peace with our God forever. That's certainly something that can give us great joy!
We'll sing some new or unfamiliar music this week. The Psalm we will be singing is this beautiful version by Isaac Wardell:
Our offertory will be an ancient (6th century) text, arranged with new music by Keith and Kristyn Getty:
We'll also sing a song I wrote, based on the text of Psalm 68. Here's a rough recording:
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!