Perfect for Advent: David Ould’s meditations on Handel’s Messiah

November 30, 2008

(updated with two new entries)

One of the friends of this blog, Aussie Anglican priest and blogger David Ould, has recently been posting a series on Handel’s Messiah over at Stand Firm. We thought it would make a great addition to Lent & Beyond’s collection of Advent Resources and Links. Here are the various posts:

Messiah: Isaiah 40

Messiah: The God who Judges

Messiah – the Promised Christ

Messiah – Annunciation to the Shepherds

Messiah – The Good Shepherd

Messiah – the reason for the Incarnation

Messiah – the cross

Messiah – Resurrection & Ascension

Don’t forget: You can find all of Lent & Beyond’s 2008 Advent posts here.

Jos, Nigeria

November 30, 2008

A current news report says that violence has abated on Sunday, with a round-the-clock curfew in place. Hundreds are dead, many of them Muslim. Churches and mosques burned. One report said some clergymen dead–no details. It would seem that the land is fertile; the Christians tend to be farmers and the Muslims herdsmen, and they tend to support different political parties.

Dear Lord,
We thank You that the violence in Jos has been stayed. You are indeed a mighty God.
Send Your Holy Spirit to rest upon this city to comfort the bereaved, heal the wounded, and protect Your children. We lift the residents of Jos, Muslim and Christian, to Your tender care. Bless them, Lord. Amen.

UPDATE: The Pope calls for prayer.

Isaiah 1:1-9

November 30, 2008

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. (Isaiah 11:)
      Holy Spirit, please give us clarity of vision in our day.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me; (Isaiah 12:)
      Father, we in the Episcopal Church have been a rebellious people.

The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.” (Isaiah 1:3)
      Jesus, have mercy on us, for the Episcopal Church no longer walks in your ways and does not acknowledge you as Lord.

Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. (Isaiah 1:4)
      Father, we have sinned against your righteous ways; have mercy on us and restore us to your bosom.

Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. (Isaiah 1:5)
      Holy Spirit, we have revolted against your righteous words; have mercy on us.

From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. (Isaiah 1:6)
      Lord, have mercy on us and help us return to you. Anoint us with your Holy Spirit and we shall be healed.

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. (Isaiah 1:7)
      Father, the Episcopal Church is becoming a carcass picked over by lawyers — have mercy on us.

So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. (Isaiah 1:8 )
      Holy Spirit, we are surrounded by our sins; lead us back into the ways of your righteousness.

Unless the LORD of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:9)
      LORD, protect the faithful remnant of your people. Guide us and direct us day by day. Thank you.

Sunday: 146, 147; Isaiah 1:1-9; 2 Peter 3:1-10; Matthew 25:1-13
Monday: 1, 2, 3 ; Isaiah 1:10-20; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Luke 20:1-8

Albany Intercessor

Advent Favorites — Henri Nouwen – An Advent Prayer

November 30, 2008

Note: this is the first in a new series of “Advent Favorites” – the best Advent posts from Advent 2004 -2006 from our old blog site. There will be at least 2-3 new Advent Favorites each week. They’ll all be linked in the Advent section of the sidebar, and also the Special Series section. Enjoy and a Blessed Advent to all our readers!


Originally posted: Monday, November 28, 2005

Henri Nouwen — An Advent Prayer

An Advent Prayer from the late Rev. Henri Nouwen — so appropriate for the beginning of Advent and this season which can be so frantic. May the Lord indeed help us quiet our hearts and listen for His voice each day. May we diligently seek to know His presence, rather than allowing our anxious thoughts to distract us and may He tune our ears to hear His counsel.

Memling Advent

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”


Art Credit: Advent and Triumph of Christ (detail), Hans MEMLING, 1480; Oil on wood, Alte Pinakothek, Munich. Source: Web Gallery of Art.

Prayer Credit: The only publishing information I have found for this prayer is the following: Catholic Family Prayer Book, published by Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.

Advent Quotes — Frederick Buechner: “First Sunday of Advent”

November 30, 2008


First Sunday of Advent

“The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark, pp. 2,3

(We first posted this on Dec. 4th, 2006 with a hat tip to the “Go to Bethlehem blog” where were first saw it linked.  Image:  Finnish National Orchestra)


November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008, 9:20 to 10:30 a.m., in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Torre and Jonathan Bissell. Brisk, some light snow. Please pray for Deacon Alan Hart who had surgery yesterday to help him pass a kidney stone.

+ indicates received a wooden crosses. (Note: the wooden crosses we give out are made by Dennis Adams in North Carolina.)

Greg — a young man, a Jehovah’s Witness — gave us a tract but wouldn’t pray with us.

+Maria — “I want to pray for everybody — everything good in the world.”

+John — “Back and legs, lot of pain.”

+Krista — “Health, and for my kids.”

Steve — “For a new job.”

(One of the “girls”) — “I’ve been prayed for three times already.”

+Calvin — “I’m mad at God right now — burned out of apartment in a fire, need a job to support my family.”

James — an elder in the Macedonia Seventh Day Adventist Church around the corner on Swan St.

Jim — On Wednesday we prayed for his Godson (originally reported as son, but actually Godson) Ernie in Iraq. He has done three tours there. Jim sent Ernie a text message that we had prayed for him. Ernie replied, “Thank you.”

+Ashmanie — — young woman — prayed for protection and provision

+James — “For me and my lady.”

+Davy and +Sony — “Get a job.”

Albany Intercessor

Preparing for Advent

November 29, 2008

Note: Advent 2008 begins tomorrow, November 30. Lent & Beyond will be posting Advent devotionals and links to many online Advent resources. You can find all our Advent entries here.


[originally posted 2006]

Excerpted from the Creighton University Praying Advent site (one of my favorite online Advent resources), the following meditation on preparing for Advent was very helpful to me in terms of reminding me to ask the Lord what He is wanting to do in my life this coming Advent — in what ways do I need to see more of the fruit of Salvation in my life. In what areas am I still walking in darkness and need to allow the Lord’s light to break through?


We are about to read and pray about the expectant hope of Israel, as expressed through Isaiah. The images we will be using are about darkness and gloom – about thick clouds covering the people – and about hunger and thirst. They are images that attempt to capture a sense of what we feel when we are distant from our God. There are many images about war and conflict. They express the powerlessness and anxiety we experience when we feel vulnerable and defense-less. Most of all, there are images of a future day – a day that can only be called the Lord’s – when all the tears will be wiped away, when there will be plenty to eat and drink, and when there will be no more conflict and no more war. God’s salvation will be made known. God’s victory will be complete.

These are very precious days for us to come into intimate contact with our own need for salvation. It is a time to make friends with our tears, our darkness, our hunger and thirst. What is missing? What eludes my grasp? What name can I give to the “restlessness” in my heart? What is the emptiness I keep trying to “feed” with food, with fantasy, with excitement, with busyness? What is the conflict that is “eating at me”? What is the sinful, unloving, self-centered pattern for which I haven’t asked for forgiveness and healing? Where do I need a peace that the world cannot give?

Coming to know where I need a Savior is how I can prepare for Advent. I am preparing to listen to the promises, listen to these rich texts announcing the liberation I can truly long for. When my heart is open, when my hands are open, when my mouth is open and ready to ask for freedom, healing and peace, then I am ready to begin Advent.

Come, Lord, Jesus. Come and Visit Your People.
We Await Your Coming; Come, O, Lord.

Isaiah 35

The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.

They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak,

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; the abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus. A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it. No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it. It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

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