The Second Sunday of Advent is personified by the voice of John the Baptist calling for repentance and readiness. His voice is heard in nearly all of the Sunday's hymns and especially in “On Jordan's bank,” “Prepare the way, O Zion,” and, “There’s a voice in the wilderness crying.” When we sing Advent hymns their meaning is shaped by our subjective personal journey toward Christmas. John the Baptist’s original message imploring readiness was to the Jewish people alone. Only later was the promised gift of the Messiah made explicit as a gift of salvation for everyone- Jew and Gentile. As my mother wisely responded to my question from her nine-year-old son- “Mom, are their people on other planets?” She said, “Son, I don’t know but if there are, Jesus went there to save them too.”
The choir sing’s Bobby McFerrin’s setting of Psalm 23. You may know him as a pop. music and jazz singer. He dedicated this composition to his mother, hence a transformation of the text to “She makes me lie down... She leads me in a path...She won’t forsake me.” In an interview with the Omega Institute, Bobby relates this about his Psalm 23 setting.
“The 23rd Psalm is dedicated to my mother. She was the driving force in my religious and spiritual education, and I have so many memories of her singing in church…I recently spent time with my wife and our children. Watching her with them, the way she loved them, I realized one of the ways we’re shown a glimpse of how God loves us is through our mothers. They cherish our spirits, they demand that we become our best selves, and they take care of us.”
Notice that the opening line contains a common misspelling of the word “Shepherd.” Instead, Bobby writes, “The Lord is my Shepard.” Is this a misspelling or intentional? For those of you familiar with the physics of sound and various wave forms as most musicians are, the word “Shepard” also means “a tone consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves.” Translated, a pitch clearly heard with few overtones yet amplified by duplications of that pure tone both above it and below it. Sounds like love to me.
This Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm our next Friends of Music Concert features our very own Alexandra Thompson. Cellist, Allie attended St. Paul's growing up, sang in the Canterbury Choir and Youth Choir, played a great number of times in worship and now plays in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra! She will perform an assortment of classical works and holiday favorites. Proud father and retired PSO member, Thomas Thompson will be in attendance with beautiful wife and singer, Christine Thompson.
Come join us for a most splendid concert!
Suggested Donation; $10