John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)
The presence of the Lord “in your midst” in the wonder of the holy supper is cause for singing. The nearness of the Lord in prayer, in every circumstance, is cause for rejoicing. The coming of one “more powerful” than John, even with his winnowing fork in his hand, is good news—and cause for exultation—for us who are being saved. Great joy is the tone for the third Sunday of Advent.
Sunday Worship Music
During our Traditional worship services we will sing the upbeat Advent hymn Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying. Jesus tells us to be alert at all times in today’s Gospel reading, and we sing Wake, Awake! We express our unbridled joy about Jesus breaking into our lives using the words of this 16th-century hymn by Philipp Nicolai.
During our New Day Praise service we will sing O Come Emmanuel. This contemporary adaptation by Paul Baloche comes from the ancient song singing of our deep longing for Emmanuel- “God with us” to rescue us from all that holds us captive.
For Further Reflection: the Season of Advent
The Sundays of Advent, like all Sundays, are a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Worship in Advent, while anchored in the Sunday cycle of readings, can make room for an additional layer of prayer and praise by observing the commemorations that fall during the month of December. Commemorations “illuminate various aspects of the church’s life and mission through the lives of women and men who have followed Christ in succeeding generations”
This week, you are invited to consider the life of Katharina von Bora Luther — Born to an impoverished nobleman, when Katharina (Katie) was five her mother died and she was sent to live in a convent. She later took vows as a nun, but around age twenty-four she and several other nuns who were influenced by the writings of Martin Luther left the convent. Six children were born to Katie and Martin. Though initially Luther felt little affection for Katie, she proved herself a gifted household manager and became a trusted partner. She was so influential that Luther took to calling her “my lord Katie.”