|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on December 2, 2021 at 12:10 AM|
The Advent season is here again. The appointed readings and the music we encounter during this season of preparation remind us to stay awake; to be alert; to anticipate and be ready for the promised Messiah’s arrival, or coming. We remember his first coming in the form of a lowly birth in a stable because there was no room for him in the inn. However, it is his “long-expected” coming(as the hymn puts it) as the King of all ages for which we are to remain ever alert and long for with great anticipation. He will be the King who will rule over a glorious kingdom in which justice and righteousness prevail. And, yes, we should do all of these things. However, in this great time of ‘waiting’ there is much that we, our neighbors and all of humanity endure. It is so easy to get bogged down with our own fear and distractions that we miss what others around us are enduring. Perhaps that is why scripture reminds us to stay awake and be alert.
The pain and suffering of the world are all around us. So, where is our hope? Where is our joy? It is, of course, where it has always been: in the hope of the Messiah’s promised return. Below is the text of an Advent hymn that reminds us to long for the Messiah with gladness: Rejoice! Rejoice! Believers(#68 in The Hymnal 1982).
Rejoice! Rejoice, Believers
Rejoice! Rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear! The evening is advancing, and darker night is near. The Bridegroom is arising, and soon he will draw nigh; up, watch in expectation! at midnight comes the cry.
See that your lamps are burning, replenish them with oil; look now for your salvation, the end of sin and toil. The marriage feast is waiting, the gates wide open stand; rise up, ye heirs of glory, the Bridegroom is at hand!
Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear; arise, thou Sun so longed for, above this darkened sphere! With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see the day of earth’s redemption, and ever be with thee!
Words: Laurentius Laurenti(1660-1722); tr. Sarah B. Findlater(1823-1907), alt.