All about this Sunday at St. John the Divine
No Sunday school this week! Join us in Sumners Hall to make an Advent wreath (see below)
Nursery and preschool: First Floor
Advent Wreath Making
Start your Advent preparations in Sumners Hall at 10 am with festive refreshments and create your own Advent wreath! Limited quantities of kits are available at $20 per kit, which include fresh greenery, a floral wreath form, candles, and ribbon. We encourage you to order your kit(s) in advance - order here! Contact Deanna Lawson.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your 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 living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
The themes for today, the First Sunday of Advent, center on the Second Advent (second coming) of Christ and the admonition to be alert and ready – a day of great expectation as we look forward to Christ’s triumphant return. We sing hymns such as “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending” and “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding.” As Advent is also a time of preparation and reflection, we sing different service music including the “Trisagion” in lieu of the “Gloria” and “Agnus Dei” at the Fraction.
Our worship begins with expectant music at the prelude, “Sleepers, wake, a voice is sounding” (Hymn 61), an organ arrangement by J. S. Bach of one of the movements from his Advent cantata of the same name. Following the Prelude, we hear expectant words of scripture from the traditional responsory for the First Sunday of Advent, as set by Giovanni Luigi de Palestrina – “I look from afar: and lo, I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth…”
Christus is the title given by the composer’s brother Paul to fragments of an unfinished oratorio on the life of Christ by Felix Mendelssohn, published posthumously as Op. 97. Today at the Offertory, the Chorale sings the well-known chorus from this work, “There shall a star from Jacob shine forth,” which concludes with the chorale “How brightly shines the morning star” (Hymn 496 in our hymnal).