“As it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (Luke 3:4-6).
Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 53). As Lutheran Christians, we share a rich and varied musical heritage and music continues to be central to our life together as we worship, as we grow in discipleship, and as we serve.
One of the many ways we prepare our hearts to welcome the Christchild during this Advent season is through music. Music helps us communicate the story of Jesus’ coming among us in ways that speak deeply into our souls and that change our hearts. Over the coming weeks, we invite you to make music part of your Advent preparations. And, as you do, invite others to join you—a friend, a neighbor, a coworker—anyone with whom you would like to share the good news of Christ’s coming.
This weekend, December 8 and 9, our St. John’s Chancel Choir and Orchestra is presenting Mark Hayes’ cantata Come to the Manger at all of our weekend worship services. Special thanks to Sue Hamilton, our Director of Music Ministries, together with each of our over 50 musicians participating in this moving musical presentation. If you would like to hear the cantata again, the choir will be sharing a special performance with the residents of Concordia Village on Tuesday, December 18 at 1:30 in their chapel. You are welcome to join them!
This coming Wednesday, December 12, our Advent Soup and Song series continues as we welcome Glenwood High School’s Concert Choir and Jazz Fusion, featuring several young disciples from St. John’s. Come for a bowl of delicious homemade soup at 12 noon, followed by great music beginning at 12:15. Then, on Wednesday, December 19, we welcome Barbara and Michael Lanham as they share a four-handed piano performance with us.
On Sunday, December 16, the children of St. John’s will share their presentation of Really, Really, Really Good News during a combined 10:30 worship service in the Parish Life Center (PLC). These children have been working really hard on this year’s program and I encourage you to come and receive the gift that they will bring.
Finally, come and join us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at any of our celebration worship services, all of which will be filled with music. Our 3:00 Christmas Eve worship involves preschool-aged children and their families in a multi-sensory, participatory worship experience. Our 4:30 traditional service features the music of the children of St. John’s, together with our organist Carlo van Ulft. At 7:30, we worship in the Parish Life Center (PLC) featuring the music of our St. John’s Praise Team. And, at 11:00, we gather again in the sanctuary for a traditional Christmas Eve worship featuring the music of our St. John’s Bells of Glory and Chancel Choir. Come early and enjoy pre-service music shared by a variety of St. John’s disciples!
Through music, God invites us again and again into the story of his coming among us. Thank you to all who share God’s gift of music with us week after week. As we make music together during this Advent season, we prepare our hearts to be changed yet again by God’s amazing grace born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Changed by God’s GRACE+