Ginny Owens: When the Time is Right

December 22, 2014

One of my favorite contemporary Advent songs.  Ginny Owen’s song “When the Time is Right” captures well the waiting, longing and hope in God’s promises.

Unfortunately the song is not available as a download.  It’s from an album called One Silent Night, released in 2000, a compilation of Christmas songs by various artists.
When the time is right
The sun showed no mercy on the African sand,
another week with no clouds in the sky.
Only days filled with chains and Pharaoh’s commands.
The children of God looked to heaven on high.
They’d cry, “Lord, see our tears; tell us how long.”
Then they’d sing themselves to sleep with this song:
We are not forgotten; we are ever in God’s sight.
He will come to us when the time is right!
He will lead us into freedom;
He will lead us into life!
He will come to us when the time is right!
Centuries go by, and again there are tears.
Now the nation’s held in Caesar’s reign.
There’s a hope that their hearts
have held through the years
and as they sing that familiar refrain,
the answer that came down from heaven’s throne
offered freedom from a bondage far greater than Rome!
We are not forgotten; we are ever in God’s sight.
He will come to us when the time is right!
He will lead us into freedom;
He will lead us into life!
He will come to us when the time is right!
When the time is right!
Ginny Owens – 2000

Excellent Resources related to the “O Antiphons”

December 18, 2014

A few excellent links for prayers, music and reflections related to the Great “O Antiphons” of Advent:

A wonderful devotional on O Come O Come Emmanuel / the Antiphons from Cardiphonia – This is really worth downloading!

A nice “O Antiphons Prayer Companion” – a 1o page guide on the Antiphons

Christine Sine at Godspace’s list of resources on the Antiphons

MP3s and Musical Notations for each O Antiphon Chant.

A recording:  St. Mark’s Cathedral: An Advent Procession – the Great O Antiphons

 


Advent Poems: William Cowper – The Shining Light

December 18, 2014

Another post dug up from our 2006 archives…, an Advent favorite that I’m surprised has taken me 8 years to post over here at this version of Lent & Beyond!

William Cowper: The Shining Light

The Shining Light

My former hopes are fled,
My terror now begins;
I feel, alas! that I am dead
In trespasses and sins.
Ah, whither shall I fly?
I hear the thunder roar;
The Law proclaims Destruction nigh,
And Vengeance at the door.
When I review my ways,
I dread impending doom:
But sure a friendly whisper says,
“Flee from the wrath to come.”
I see, or think I see,
A glimmering from afar;
A beam of day, that shines for me,
To save me from despair.
Forerunner of the sun,
It marks the pilgrim’s way;
I’ll gaze upon it while I run,
And watch the rising day.

— William Cowper


Advent Favorites: St Symeon – Come O Eternal Joy

December 16, 2014

As the theme of Week 3 of Advent is Joy, yesterday, I prepared the following entry for today, a re-post from our 2006 Advent archives (from our old, now defunct blog).  Having read the news headlines this morning of the horrific massacre of schoolchildren in Pakistan, I nearly hesitate to re-post this today.  However the tragedies of the world serve to strengthen our longing for His coming… so may we hold on to the hope of His promises today, and the indescribable joy we will know in His presence.

From our 2006 archives

St. Symeon: Come, O Eternal Joy!

I am stealing this shamelessly from Pontifications, artwork and all. It’s just too good! I consider it essential Advent reading (even though Fr. Al posted it weeks ago, I’ve been saving it up) . It so wonderfully expresses the longing for Christ’s return that I want to have. I want to hunger for Christ in just this way — and not only for His second coming, but His daily coming into my life by His Holy Spirit. If I yearned this much for His coming, I would more readily throw off anything and everything that gets in the way of deep intimacy with Christ. Thank you Fr. Al for the wonderful citations you find and post that edify so many of us!

***

St Symeon

Come, O true light!
Come, O eternal life!
Come, O hidden mystery!
Come, O indescribable treasure!
Come, O ineffable thing!
Come, O inconceivable person!
Come, O endless delight!
Come, O unsetting light!
Come, O true and fervent expectation
of all those who will be saved!
Come, O rising of those who lie down!
Come, O resurrection of the dead!
Come, O powerful one,
who always creates and re-creates and transforms
by your will alone!
Come, O invisible and totally intangible and untouchable!
Come, O you who always remain immobile
and at each moment move all,
and come to us, who lie in hades,
you who are above all heavens.
Come, O desirable and legendary name,
which is completely impossible for us
to express what you are or to know your nature.
Come, O eternal joy!
Come, O unwithering wreath!
Come, O purple of the great king our God!
Come, O crystalline cincture,
studded with precious stones!
Come, O inaccessible sandal!
Come, O royal robe
and truly imperial right hand!
Come, you whom my wretched soul
has desired and does desire!
Come, you who alone go to the lonely
for as you see I am lonely!
Come, you who have separated me from everything
and made me solitary in this world!
Come, you who have become yourself desire in me,
who have made me desire you,
the absolutely inaccessible one!
Come, O my breath and life!
Come, O consolation of my humble soul!
Come, O my joy, my glory, and my endless delight!
I thank you that you have become one spirit with me,
without confusion, without mutation,
without transformation, you the God of all;
and that you have become everything for me,
inexpressible and perfectly gratuitous nourishment,
which ever flows to the lips of my soul
and gushes out into the fountain of my heart,
dazzling garment which burns the demons,
purification which bathes me
with these imperishable and holy tears,
that your presence brings to those whom you visit.
I give you thanks that for me
you have become unsetting light
and non-declining sun;
for you who fill the universe with your glory
have nowhere to hide yourself.
No, you have never hidden yourself from anyone
but we are the ones who always hide from you,
by refusing to go to you;
but then, where would you hide,
you who nowhere find the place of your repose?
Why would you hide,
you who do not turn away from a single creature,
who do not reject a single one?
Today, then, O Master,
come pitch your tent with me;
until the end, make your home
and live continually, inseparably within me,
your slave, O most-kind one,
that I also may find myself again in you,
at my departure from this world
and after my departure may I reign with you,
O God who are above everything.
O Master, stay and do not leave me alone,
so that my enemies,
arriving unexpectedly,
they who are always seeking to devour my soul,
may find you living within me
and that they may take flight,
in defeat, powerless against me,
seeing you, O more powerful than everything,
installed interiorly in the home of my poor soul.
Yea, O Master, just as you remembered me,
when I was in the world
and, in the midst of my ignorance,
you chose me and separated me from this world
and set me before your glorious face,
so now keep me interiorly,
by your dwelling within me,
forever upright, resolute;
that by perpetually seeing you,
I, the corpse, may live;
that by possessing you,
I, the beggar, may always be rich,
richer than kings;
that by eating you and by drinking you,
by putting you on at each moment,
I go from delight to delight
in inexpressible blessings;
for it is You, who are all good and
all glory and all delight
and it is to you,
holy, consubstantial, and life-creating Trinity
that the glory belongs,
you whom all faithful venerate, confess, adore, and serve
in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

St Symeon the New Theologian

***

Some personal comments to add as I reflect on this wonderful ancient hymn / prayer:  Ever since Father Al first posted this, I’ve found myself particularly struck by this section at the end:

so now keep me interiorly,
by your dwelling within me,
forever upright, resolute;
that by perpetually seeing you,
I, the corpse, may live;
that by possessing you,
I, the beggar, may always be rich,
richer than kings;
that by eating you and by drinking you,
by putting you on at each moment,
I go from delight to delight

in inexpressible blessings;
for it is You, who are all good and
all glory and all delight

This to my mind echos for me the passage from Romans 13 in the Advent lectionary and the call to cast off the works of darkness and to put on Christ. How much more readily we might be faithful to the apostle’s call if we could sense that putting on Christ would fill us with such delight upon delight. How much more eager we are to cast off the works of darkness when we have an unshakeable conviction in God’s goodness and glory, such that we desire Him above all things, even the pleasures or convenience of our sins, even as Moses desired His reward more than the luxuries and privileges of Pharaoh’s court:

Heb 11:24-26
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (NIV)

Author and theologian John Piper once wrote this about Jonathan Edwards’ teaching, and much of John Piper’s teaching (especially his book “Future Grace”) is based on this concept:

Edwards argued that it is essential that sin be defeated by the promise of superior pleasure in God. Will-power will not suffice. Even when it “succeeds,” will-power religion gets glory for the will, not God. It produces legalists, not lovers.

St. Symeon is clearly among those who was a lover of Christ. May we be also.


An Unconventional Advent song: Michael W. Smith – I’ll Wait For You

December 15, 2014

Michael W. Smith’s song I’ll Wait for You from his 2010 album Wonder makes an excellent Advent video / song I think.  It focuses on holding on to our faith and hope in the midst of the world’s pain and brokenness.

Here are the lyrics:

“I’ll Wait For You”

Good morning Mr. Repo Man
Give me one more week, and I’ll be gone.
It’s been a long hard month of Sunday’s
Still no rain, nothing left around here but the dust and shame
I know you know….mmmm, I know you know.
And I’m trying to find my way, to hold on to my faith
While I wait, for you
I’ll wait for you.
Now I lie awake at night, trying not to think
these are the hardest times I’ve seen
I’m still holding on
I know you never said it would be easy
all thick and no thin, but the man who waits is the man who wins, holding on,
oh yeah, I’m holding on.I’m gonna hide myself away, hide myself away,
And I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you,I’ll wait for you.

I need you now, I need you now, Oh, oh..oh..
You know I need you now, oh, oh, yeah, yeah

And I’ll wait for you, I’ll wait for you, I’m gonna wait for you,
Oh, I wait for you.

I’m gonna walk on and not get weary now, I’m gonna run and not fall down.
I know that someday, I’ll get my wings somehow, and you will carry me. you will carry me
I’m gonna rise up, like an eagle now, I’m gonna ride that big blue sky,
I’m sure that someday, all that doubt again, you will carry me, you will carry me, even now.
Carry me even now. Your gonna carry me, you will carry me, you will carry me, even now.
Oh carry me, oh yeah.


Back to Advent blogging shortly!

December 15, 2014

It’s Advent week 3!

Travel and illness have kept the Lent & Beyond Advent bloggier-in-chief off the computer for a few days… but I’ll be back at it shortly.   We expect to feature a bunch of new Advent entries today and throughout the entire week.

 


A good short video message on Advent: Canon Phil Ashey

December 13, 2014

A short 5 minute video reflection focused on the Advent Collect.  Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council focuses on how Advent challenges us to choose an identity firmly rooted in Christ:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.


A reminder: Advent Bible Study Series by ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs

December 12, 2014

Find the whole series at Bishop Dobbs’ Vimeo page:

Series Introduction

Advent 1

Advent 2

Advent 3


An Advent Poem – The Curse Undone, by Teresa Roberts Johnson

December 12, 2014

I posted the first poem in this two poem series yesterday.  This is from Teresa Roberts Johnson’s poetry blog, Angliverse.

The Curse Undone

Hiding their faces from the evening sun,
They stood ashamed among the shuddering trees
And heard the bidding voice of God, the One
Whose judgment brought the sinners to their knees.

“You will give life, but mingled with deep woe,”
He said to Eve, who sold her children into war
With him who on his belly now must go,
His fangs poised for destruction near and far.

To Adam, careless watchman, God then said,
“And you will earn your food by toil and sweat,
The dirt shall thwart your quest for daily bread,
While children doomed for death you shall beget.”

But of the woman’s pain a Seed would come
Just at the moment of earth’s darkest night.
This promised Seed to sin could not succumb,
The Second Adam, who all wrongs would right.

For He would freely give Himself for food,
The Bread of Life to take the curse away.
His agony the grieving world renewed
As death gave way to life at break of day.

Copyright © 2014 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

Please click here for the poet’s notes and commentary on the poem.


Advent quotes: Each of us is an innkeeper…

December 12, 2014

I hope in the second half of Advent to post more Advent quotes, including those from Church Fathers and renowned Christians throughout the ages, but today I was struck by this very simple quote found at the blog Expectantly Listening.

Each-of-us-is-an


An Advent Poem: The Advent of Grace by Teresa Roberts Johnson

December 11, 2014

Anglican poet Teresa Roberts Johnson has two wonderful original Advent poems at her blog Angliverse this year.  They are theologically rich soul food and I’ve enjoyed meditating on them.  Here is the first poem.  I will post the second tomorrow.   Please make sure to click on the link at the end to read Theresa’s information on what inspired the poem.

The Advent of Grace

The sibilant voice poured pride into her soul
While her protector, silent, shirked his role.
The perfect garden at her feet, Eve reached
To pluck forbidden fruit, and thus she breached
The kind decree that promised life and breath,
And opened up her home to pain and death.
For when she said, “Take, eat,” and Adam took,
The curse unfurled, and seas and mountains shook.
Their stolen meal brought famine yet unknown,
Dearth earned for taking what is God’s alone.
The outlaws hid, believing all was lost,
Their eyes now open to the dreadful cost
Of plundering God’s throne, for with that hand
They had instead laid waste to Earth’s fair land.
Still worse, they had estranged themselves from Love,
But God took pity on them from above.
At His appointed time, His Word rang out
To say, “Where are you?” and to bring about
Undoing of the curse that fell upon their head,
Of pain in birth and sweat poured out for bread.
The garden lay in ruins many a year,
Till Advent bells rang out unbridled cheer.
For the power and the glory man had sought
Rest in the Man whose blood their lives has bought.
He freely left His throne to seek and save
The lost; God’s Son was traded for the knave.

Copyright © 2014 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

Please click here for some commentary on the poem.

 


An Advent prayer by Christine Sine

December 11, 2014

I have been remiss in not linking enough this Advent to many wonderful resources, reflections and prayers posted by Christine Sine at Godspace.  Here is one of her illustrated Advent prayers posted at her facebook page recently.

Christine Sine Advent prayer

The final three lines of the prayer resonate deeply with my heart…

Let us come and remember what has been fulfilled.

Let us prepare for what must yet be done.

Let us come to the One who waits to show us love.

So as we come to Christ today, may our time with Him have that threefold focus:

1) REMEMBERING all the promises that have been fulfilled in Him (which gives us confidence and hope in Him regarding the promises which are still far off, unseen…)

2) PREPARING for the work He has given us to do while we wait for His appearing – asking Him for wisdom and direction, receiving His grace and strength…

3) REJOICING in His love, His open arms.  Enjoying our fellowship with Him and delighting in His presence.


Jesus: A Light to the Gentiles

December 10, 2014

 

I have a particular soft spot in my heart for yesterday’devotional (Dec 9) about Simeon’s song (Luke 2:25-32) from Biola’s Advent Project site, given its focus on Jesus as a light to the Gentiles to all nations and peoples, including those still waiting to hear of His birth, where there is not yet a church.  I have friends who are serving and proclaiming Christ among some of the Gentile peoples specifically named in the devotional…:

…[Simeon] is seeing the foreigners, the gentiles. Perhaps they are actually standing in the courtyard or perhaps they are just present in his prophetic mind’s eye, but they stand there with their strange attire, their unpronounceable names, and their unfamiliar religious customs. Simeon sees that they too have “hungry souls” and the Spirit brings to his mind scriptures like Psalm 67 (“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations”). The Spirit then directs his tongue to speak of Jesus being a “Light of revelation to the Gentiles.”

When we see Jesus, do we also see the nations? Do we see the Turks, the Uzbeks, the Fulani, the Arabs, the Pashtun, the Javanese? Jesus may be a “holy stranger” to them, as the song says, but He is the one whom they have been waiting for.

The full entry is here.  Be sure to listen to Chris Rice’s song “Welcome to Our World” included as part of the devotional, especially if you don’t know it.  It makes a really good Advent song given its theme of preparing a welcome for Christ, recognizing the hunger in our hearts for Him.

Art credit: Simeon with the Infant Jesus, Petr Brandl, 1725 (from the Biola Advent Project site)


An Advent Devotional – Waiting for Christ, Witnessing, Working…

December 10, 2014

I love the Rev. Glen Scrivener’s blog, The King’s English, but because he blogs through the Scriptures consecutively, his posts are not always tied to the liturgical season.  Yesterday’s entry “A Labour of Love,” however, was specifically tied to Advent.  It’s based on Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 1 where he talks about waiting for Christ’s return, and the believers labour of love which flows out of their hope in Christ:

But how do we wait?  Like the picture above?  Scanning the sky for signs of His coming?  Scouring the newspapers for clues to His advent?

We’re called to be on the welcoming committee, but many want to be in the planning group.  It’s something Jesus refuses to bring us in on.  Just before He ascended His followers wanted to get an eschatological timetable from Him:

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:6-8)

They wanted to know times and seasons.  Jesus says ‘That’s not your job!  Your job is to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.’

We do not wait by worrying about when.  We wait by witnessing. (emphasis added)

It’s interesting how Acts 1 continues.  Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples are – understandably, you’d think – gazing into the heavens.  But angels appear to tell them to stop gawping at the skies (Acts 1:10-11).  The posture of the church, as we wait for Christ, is not stationary, faces heavenwards.  Instead our posture is shaped by Acts 1:8 – we’ve been given our marching orders and out we go – to the ends of the earth as witnesses of Christ.

And so in the same chapter that tells us of the Thessalonians “waiting for God’s Son from heaven” Paul also gives us this description of their current life:

“[We remember] without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Here again is Paul’s famous trio:  faith, hope and love.  Our faith looks back to Christ’s first coming and it inspires work.  Our hope looks forward to Christ’s second coming and brings patience.  And love is the atmosphere of our present lives – confident of the salvation Christ has won, and expectant of the cosmic redemption He will bring.  Now we are free from having to build our own identity or secure our own future.  Now we can love.  And this love will be a busy, active thing.  It is a “labour of love.”

We’re not working towards our vindication, our joy, our purpose in life. We’re working from that sure gift from Christ.  Therefore Christian work is a “labour of love.”

Are your Christian efforts “a labour of love”?  If they’re feeling more of a “millstone around your neck“, then these aren’t the kind of labours that will honour Jesus.  Let me suggest that you may have forgotten the other two elements of the trio.  Remember, we have a sure faith, grounded in Christ’s first coming.  And we have a certain hope, expectant of His second coming.  If you want to rekindle the love: look again to Christ this Advent – His faultless work for you and your expectant wait for Him.  A fresh vision of Jesus turns labour into “a labour of love.”

I strongly recommend reading the full entry.

***

As an “Advent extra,” when I read the title of Glenn’s post “Labour of Love,” I couldn’t help but think of a wonderful Andrew Peterson duet with Jill Phillips of the same title, from his amazing album Behold the Lamb of God – one of the best CCM albums ever.    Here’s a video version of the song below, enjoy!


New update to our Advent 2014 Index

December 10, 2014

We’ve updated our index of all the Advent entries posted here at Lent & Beyond so far this year.

Here’s the link to all the devotionals, prayers, music, quotes and resources we’ve posted.

 


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