18 December 2016

Advent IV Reflections

Such joys today in the liturgy. We began with that awesome Basque carol: "The Angel Gabriel." The solemnity of the Advent season continued with the absence of Gloria, which has a peculiar way of making the Kyrie all the weightier. The awesome collect asking for relief from the weight of our sins (and is it not a fact that they just seem to weigh heavier on us as we grow in the faith?). The readings: Moses' promise of the prophet like himself; my all time favorite epistle from Philippians 4; the Visitation Gospel with the blessedness (and blessing) of Mary. The Nicene Creed that also seems to grow in weight and freight as we approach nearer to the Christmas feast. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The lovely homily provided just below this post. Violin, viola and organ on O Come during offering. At St. Paul's from Advent through Pentecost, the Our Father is chanted by the pastor, with the congregation joining in the joyful doxology. The genuflection during the Creed mirrors the genuflection at the Verba, both confessing His real presence in our flesh and blood. Then the distribution hymns as the Sacrament is administered: O Savior, Rend... Creator of the Stars of Night... Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord. The second post-communion collect, with its "who in lovingkindness sent Your only-begotten Son into the flesh." And then after the benediction, the singing of the first hymn of Christmas: "A Great and Mighty Wonder"—St. Germanus' amazing song, though LSB definitely lost the meaning of the last verse: "And idol forms shall perish, and error shall decay, and Christ shall weild His scepter, our Lord and God for aye," reflecting the retreat of idolatry before the proclamation of the Gospel that astounded the ancient world (and should astound us). So the Divine Service ended with a hint of the Gloria about to return come Christmas Midnight: "To God on high be glory and peace to all the earth!"

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