Magnify the Lord

This service of Lessons and Carols from 2010 invites you to join with Mary in singing her song of praise to the Mighty One, and in working in fear and trembling for the full coming of the kingdom of Christ, even as we patiently await his return.

Nativity (detail) by He Qi

Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, sings her praise to God in cosmic, psalmodic fashion, according to Luke 1. Sung on the occasion of Mary meeting her relative Elizabeth, with both of their surprising pregnancies in bloom, Mary does not, however, refer directly to her pregnancy, but rather focuses on the mighty acts of God, on his mercy and faithfulness to his people. Quoting from the Psalms and the Song of Hannah (I Sam. 2), Mary directs our attention to what God is doing in her life and throughout his world: the God she magnifies is the One who brings down mighty rulers from their thrones and who lifts up the humble, who fills the hungry with good things but sends the rich away empty, and who keeps his covenant promises to his people.

In the rhythm of the church year, Advent is the season of expectancy, of rehearsing the mighty acts of God from Scripture, and of waiting for the mighty acts of God still to come, in our lives and at the consummation of time. So we join with Mary in singing her song of praise to the Mighty One, and in working in fear and trembling for the full coming of the kingdom of Christ, even as we patiently await his return.

In this service, through the movement of Scripture and prayer, music of hymns and anthems, images and metaphors, may God’s Spirit inspire us to magnify the Lord who is our Savior!

Prelude: Triptych on "At the Name of Jesus," William H. Bates

I. Introduction
II. Variations 

Processional Hymn: "Once in Royal David's City"

Psalter Hymnal 346
St. 1, unison
St. 2, men
St. 3, women
St. 4, harmony
St. 5, unison, with descant by David Willcocks

Greeting:

Pastor: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

All: And also with you. Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Advent Responsory: "Wait for the Lord, Whose Day Is Near"

Worship and Rejoice 116
All, harmony, three times

The Lord Is Near

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-8 

"Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 4:4, 6, 7), Henry Purcell

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Branch of Jesse

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-9

"The Beatitudes" (Matthew 5:3-12), Damijan Mocnik

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," Michael Praetorius and Jan Sandström

"Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come"

Psalter Hymnal 337
St. 1 and 2, harmony
St. 3 and 4, unison

A Child Is Born

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 1:28-35

"Magnificat: Canticle of Mary," Jeffery L. Ames and S. Scott Leaman

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

The Song of Mary
Though we're familiar with reading the Song of Mary in linear fashion in western culture, beginning at Luke 1:46b to the end of vs. 55, consider reading it also as a centric text, in which vs. 49b-50 are the "axle" or key verse of her song. From here the text blossoms in "book-end" fashion surrounding this central verse, with each portion before that "axle" mirrored in a similar portion following that key verse.

46b, 47: Praise to God as Mary's personal Savior
48a: God's saving acts to his humble servant
48b, 49a: God's mighty deeds
49b, 50: God's holiness and unending mercy
51: God's mighty deeds
52, 53: God's saving acts to his humble people
54, 55: Praise to God, the Savior of his people

Joy

Scripture: Isaiah 35; Luke 7:18-23

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

"O Come, O Come, Immanuel"

Psalter Hymnal 328
St. 1, unison, harmony on refrain
St. 2, men
St. 3, Women's Chorale
St. 4, Campus Choir
St. 5, harmony
St. 6, women
St. 7, unison with descant by David Willcocks

Come Quickly & God's Patience

Scripture: Psalm 70; 2 Peter 3:8-13

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

"An Advent Credo," Joseph M. Martin

"E'ven So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come" (based on Revelation 22) Paul Manz

The Lord Is Near

Scripture: Psalm 110; Philippians 2:5-11

"At the Name of Jesus"

Psalter Hymnal 467
St. 1-2, unison
St. 3, Campus Choir
St. 4, union, with a descant by Ralph Vaughan Williams
choral interlude, Campus Choir
St. 5, unison, with a descant by Ralph Vaughan Williams
St. 6, unison

New Heaven & Earth

Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25

"And I Saw a New Heaven" (Revelation 21:1-4), Edgar L. Bainton

Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

"Lo! He Comes, with Clouds Descending"

Psalter Hymnal 612
St. 1-3, harmony
St. 4, unison

Charge, Prayer, and Benediction

Recessional Hymn: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

Psalter Hymnal 345
St. 1-2, harmony
St. 3, unison with a descant by John Ferguson

Postlude: Triptych on "At the Name of Jesus," William H. Bates

III. Finale - "Christians, this Lord Jesus Shall Return Again"

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