Sunday of the 2nd Week of Advent
1st Reading – IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Psalm PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14 Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
2nd Reading – 2 PT 3:8-14
Gospel – MK 1:1-8
In addition to being the 2nd Sunday of Advent, today is also the feast day of St. Nicholas! Take time out to remember the saint behind Santa Claus!
Two words for today’s 1st reading – Handel’s Messiah.
As we hear the first reading, I start to hum Handel’s Messiah. The humming becomes quiet singing, and the quiet singing becomes full-throated belting.
Our whole first reading is four movements of Handel’s Messiah – GLORIOUS! Listen. Listen and pray. Listen and meditate. Listen and sing, or hum, or whistle!
- Isaiah 40: 1-3 – “Comfort Ye My People” – The first sung part of the whole piece (track #2), right after the Overture, usually performed by a tenor.
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
2. Isaiah 40:4 – “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” – an air for tenor (track #3) –
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.
Check out this rendition by Ebenezer Antwi and Gramophone Ghana below. Notice the musical accompaniment by the group of guys on KEYBOARDS – amazing! It’s so cool! You can listen to both” Comfort Ye” AND “Every Valley”, or skip to 3:14 to get to just “Every Valley”.
And you like that version from Gramophone Ghana, check out this 10 minute documentary on their making of the Messiah. Amazing group of singers working at a craft. Very inspiring!
3. Isaiah 40: 5 – the first chorus (track #4), or piece for the whole choir. Can you believe what Handel can do with just ONE SENTENCE?
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Isaiah 40:9 – an air for alto and then the chorus joins (track #9). The last verse in this chorus is from Isaiah 60:1.
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
The Messiah makes me cry, every time. I sing along, then get choked up. So glorious!