Start reading here to learn about our series, “My Heart Shall Sing,” discover details about observing an extended Advent, read ideas about how to adapt your Advent wreath, and more.
What shall we do in this Advent season, as the texts draw us deeper into revelation, deeper into endings, deeper into the new beginnings ushered in by Christ’s Advent? We shall sing.
This series encourages your community to observe Advent for up to seven weeks this year, though it can certainly be used for a four-week Advent too. Our materials are organized by date to make it easy for you do what works best for your context: whatever Sunday of Advent you’re on, and no matter howContinue reading “Extended Advent Orientation”
The most immediate challenge of an extended Advent is how to count the weeks. The average Advent wreath can accommodate four candles. Also, the average Advent wreath was donated in memory of someone, and switching to something completely different might be tricky. Here are a few Advent candle options, with or without the existing wreath.Continue reading “Adapting the Advent Wreath”
This hymn commentary is written especially with musicians in mind. Organists may find it helpful as they prepare their materials for an upcoming Sunday. Choir directors might use it to prepare devotions for the choirs they direct. Preachers and liturgists may find it handy in preparing their Sunday offerings too.
At the end of each date’s entry, you’ll find an italicized portion of text that can be cut-and-paste into your congregation’s bulletins to provide context for the hymn tied to that Sunday. You might also find resources for further learning about each hymn.
The revelatory apocalypse of Advent is happening all around us. Everywhere, worlds are ending in the quiet way the widow of Zarephath’s might have. The end is near — perpetually — for so many.
The double meaning we find here does more than simply demonstrate just some mild poetic confusion about a hymn (or elucidate the trickiness of deploying a homonym in the oral-aural atmosphere of the worship environment). I believe it also elucidates a deeper tension at the heart of the Christian faith.
What if peace–the process–isn’t very peaceful at all? What if peace leads us into recognizing the ways in which we are caught in systems that keep us trapped in feedback loops of violence, violence against bodies, minds, souls, nations, creation?
Planetary bodies, sunlight, nighttime, seasons: these are signs of time that God controls, not you. Signs that you cannot change, because God sets them. Signs that you must only watch for. “Be alert at all times,” Jesus instructs. God will use the signs to tell you, on God’s time, that … it’s time.
The song “Freedom is Coming” triumphantly declares a transformation that is both happening and not yet fully realized. As a freedom-song of the South African anti-apartheid movement, and eventually a freedom-song sung throughout the world, “Freedom is Coming” is all about helping people to imagine something that can be but isn’t yet.
Fruited and unfruited trees both grow within each of us, and John’s urgency is not directed toward certain individuals, but toward everyone, calling us all to reveal to ourselves the patterns of behavior, habits of thought, and spiritual practices that undergird our daily choices.
The effortless speed and lyrical density of “Canticle of the Turning” remind us that the very choice to live in Advent hope is an act of brinkmanship that rivals Mary’s own. In this last week of the season, there is no better time to enjoy the adrenaline rush of irrational faith.