This year for Advent Wednesdays, we had the great pleasure of having Out of the Blue, a local bluegrass trio, lead us in a liturgy of gospel classics. There is a reason we know and love those songs --they are singable! We sang "I Saw the Light," "How Great Thou Art," "Thine the Glory," "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," and "Go Tell It On the Mountain,' as our confession, prayer, gospel acclamation, prayers of the people, and sending songs. Out of the Blue treated us to more songs during communion. We missed bassist Ginger this year, and prayed blessings for her in holy work of tending to a friend.
This year we didn't have soup and sandwich suppers as in years past, but tried a pared-down version, singing and speaking without amplification around a campfire. It was too windy and dry the first week for a campfire, but the tent was lovely. The second week it rained, and again we were cozy under the tent. But last night, the last Wednesday before Lent, the night before the longest night of the year, we got to sing around the campfire. It was a service I'll always remember, with people of all ages gathered around the fire, singing into the night.
Our texts for the three services were the three great Christian canticles in Luke. Many historians believe that these have been sung for centuries in Christian worship, perhaps even before the Gospel of Luke was written down, as soon as Jesus followers began to gather after the Resurrection.
With my husband, Mike, we sang the song parts of these readings. We don't know the original tunes, sung long ago in the near East and southern Europe, but there are many versions of these famous songs today. Our Wednesday services were mostly music, not as much talking. My messages were three questions that accompany those three great songs. Questions to ponder in our hearts, like Mary, as we come close to the mystery of the Incarnation.
Wed - Dec. 6 Luke 1:26-38; 46-55 - Mary’s Song - The Magnificat (version by Marty Haugen, from Holden Evening Prayer)
To what are you saying YES this Advent?
Wed - Dec. 13 Luke 1:57-79 - Zechariah’s Song - The Benedictus (we sang from morning prayer in Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
What in your life is being RESTORED or set right this Advent?
Wed - Dec. 20 Luke 2:25-32 - Simeon’s Song - The Nunc Dimmitis (modern take by Jonathan Rundman, Canticle for Departure, from his Heartland Liturgy)
What COMPLETION have you found in your life this Advent?