Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent is Upon Us: Resurrection is Coming

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Another in the series of Advent Ramblings...

In the denominational church we were in for years and years, there was one section of the hymnal that we sang out of exclusively, starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving through the last service before Christmas, whenever that would be.  You know the section, if you're in a church that uses a hymnal.  The Advent and Christmas- themed entries.  The choir would have been rehearsing the Christmas cantata music since early in September.

But in our non-denominational, contemporary-worship-style church, where the musicians play by the Nashville numbers instead of from music staves,   it is rare that we sing traditional Christmas music at all before the last Sunday before Christmas.

Our choir set this past week was right in that pattern; it was not Christmas music.  In fact,  two out of the three songs (and maybe the third one as well; I can't remember for sure) were songs we've used in an Easter set.  I chuckled to one of my co-choir members as we left the  platform after the worship set second service, 'Only at The Rock would we be singing Easter music during Advent!'

I thought I was making a little joke, but that began to echo in my spirit and I suddenly realized it DOES make at least some sense to sing Easter music at Christmas.  Because, as one of my favorite Christmas songs remind us, Jesus, our Savior, was born for to die....

The first song in Sunday's set is soaring, both lyrically and vocally, and is appropriately titled 'Glorious' - 

My God You reign
Forever and ever
How great Your name
Your love remains
Forever and ever
You stay the same

He IS THE SAME.  The same God who took on human flesh and lived among us loves us as much now as he did when He stepped out of heaven and into the limits of physical life with the intention of restoring relationship with us.  The same Jesus who didn't reject any person who came to him but did exhort him/her to leave a sinful lifestyle...whether it was sexual sin or the sins of greed and lack of faith...receives folks just the same.  It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, just that you're willing to leave what is wrong and follow Him.

But that brings up another's easy for us to get all awe-struck over a baby born in a barn, with angels and heavenly wonders announcing His birth.  He hasn't asked us to do anything hard yet.  But He's the same.  You can't truly embrace infant Jesus if you can't embrace what adult Jesus said...'One thing you lack. Go and sell all you have (or 'go and sin no more')...and follow me'.  What is the one thing (or maybe more than one) that He would say to me, 'That's holding you back from following me fully'....?

The second song in the set, 'Your Love Awakens Me', reminds us that because He is alive, we live.    It leans a little more into the theme of resurrection.. 

Hear the song awaken
All creation singing
We're alive
Cause You're alive
But the closer of the set is full on Easter morning:
The Anthem [Lyrics]
 by Jonathan Hunt, Henry Seeley, and Liz Webber

By His stripes we are healed
By His nail pierced hands we're free
By His blood we're washed clean
Now we have the victory

The pow'r of sin is broken
Jesus overcame it all
He has won our freedom
Jesus has won it all

Hallelujah You have won the victory
Hallelujah You have won it all for me
'Cause death could not hold You down
You are the risen King
Seated in majesty
You are the risen King

Our God is risen
He is alive
He won the victory
He reigns on high

 It's good to remember the why of the manger while we're focusing on preparing to celebrate His birth.  Because...without the 'why', we've really no reason to celebrate.

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