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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Music Videos: People, Look East

People, look East, the time is near
of the crowning of the year
Make your house fair as you are able,
trim the hearth and set the table.
People look East and sing today,
Love, the Guest, is on the way!

Yesterday morning I was atop a ridge near the Delaware water gap, near the Appalachian Trail. The trees were stripped of their leaves, and even as noon approached, the sun was low in the sky. A bare, almost lifeless scene - broken only by some brilliant red berries on a bush down the hill. I stood outside for 5 minutes, then suddenly realized that the few leaves clinging doggedly to the tree in front of me were moving. No breeze? Why were they stirring? Tiny warblers, faintly green and brown and almost indistinguishable from the leaves were flitting from branch to branch. One chirped and suddenly I could hear dozens of them, calling to each other across the mountainside.

For the rest of the day, Eleanor Farjeon's carol, "People, Look East!" kept popping up on my mental playlist. "Furrows be glad, though earth is bare..." soars up a full octave in two measures, evoking for me the carols of those playful warblers.

So as you make your house fair for the coming of Christ, enjoy this choir's rendition and tell us how you are "prepared the way" in song today!


  1. So lovely!

    We sang "O Come All Ye Faithful"
    "Shine, Jesus, Shine" (we sing this every week during Advent) and then "A Candle is Burning" (tune of Away in the Manger--see comments to the Preacher's Partyif you would like new words to that song) and "Here I Am to Worship" --the words of which are surprisingly fitting for Advent.

    Today the flow was wonderful, Isaiah passage and Matt. and the songs and litany...etc. all came together the way I wish it would every week!

  2. We sang the hymn featured today - People Look East - I especially enjoyed what sounded as though they were period instruments -- not sure if they were or not. Thank you Michelle for selecting the hymn.

    Today we sang some Advent chestnuts - Come, thou long expected Jesus, There's a voice in the wilderness crying, Prepare the Way, O Zion, On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry, and Isaiah, the prophet has written of old.

    Interestingly, the organist, by accidentally played the tune to "There's a voice in the wilderness crying" when we sang "Prepare the Way O Zion" - and it worked. However, please note, it won't work the other way around. "There's a voice in the wilderness crying" does not fit into the tune Prepare the way O Zion". The meter doesn't work in reverse on that one. Who'd thunk.

  3. Our choir presented Amahl and the Night Visitors, so congregational singing was only the advent response at the beginning (about the candle, to PICARDY, with the phrase "o come o come emmanuel, to ransom captive Israel" at the end) and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. The choir did an incredible job--it was a real blessing to have them share this in worship rather than in an afternoon "performance."

  4. We did this one too and Prepare the Way O Zion. M and I did a duet of Light the Advent Candle, and we used some Taize at communion. All very Adventy today. We are doing People Look East one in Lessons and Carols next week too, the Jonothan Willcocks arrangement which is very fancy and lovely. Mmmm.

  5. We sang

    Hail to the Lord's Anointed
    O Come, O Come Emmanuel
    Comfort, Comfort Ye my people
    On Jordan's Bank
    O Day of Peace that Dimly Shines

    the last one set to the tune of "Jerusalem" and so lovely.

  6. Advent used to be six weeks long, and I sometimes wish it were still - for all the lovely music that often gets just one outing a year!

    Reading the comments, I sometimes feel as if I'm getting a chance to listen in on worship all over...thank you all for inviting us in!

  7. We started the day's music by
    singing for the children, The
    12 days of Christmas! Well perhaps
    not appropriate.
    Our pastor is writing advent stories fot each Sunday in Advent.
    She sits in a rocker at the front and reads the story to us instead of a sermon. Well--it's different.

  8. My favourite seminary prof is an SMU grad, so this made me smile today thinking of him.

    We sang this hymn last week when there were very few voices because of a huge snowstorm. It still sounded beautiful.

  9. People Look East is my favorite Advent hymn--so happy and hopeful, just the right thing for the Advent season.

    For any of you who write here... I find great hope in this blog and ring... As a theologian and a Catholic, and perhaps even a future nun, I rejoice at the contributions of women in the church, and I am humbled by the greatness that I see among you all.

    Thank you for your service and your brilliance!



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