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The Art of Worship: Fourth Sunday of Advent

My son bought a picture of the Milky Way galaxy this past week. It magically conjured up memories from my past. I remember as a child camping on the back porch under a very dark Los Alamos sky and marveling at the immense night sky. Seeing the Milky Way, stars abounding, a summer moon, even as a child I understood the enormity of the universe. Later in high school in the All-State chorus we sang How Excellent which was Psalm 8.

“How Excellent is thy name oh mighty Lord!

When I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars which Thou ordaineth.

What is man that thou art mindful of him and the son of man that thou visiteth him?

For thou has made man a little lower than the angels and has crowned him with honor and with glory.

Thou has put all things over the works of thy hands Thou has put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen the beast of the field, the foul of the air and the fish in the sea.

Oh Lord our Lord, how excellent is they name in all the earth!”

The Christmas story is the focus of the 4th week of Advent. The story that has been told, learned, and retold. The story that has produced songs, dramas, movies and poems. The story that split time persists. It defies explanation. It is an act of love, beauty, awe and is best met with open-mouthed wonder. God, who created the heavens, earth moon, stars, promised to be born in the flesh, like our flesh. Who am I that He is mindful of me? And sent his son to save me. It is amazing to stop and ponder.

Mary sings:

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. / Let the fires of your justice burn. / Wipe away all tears, / For the dawn draws near, / And the world is about to turn.

Mary knew. We are blessed, we are challenged and given hope by this promise. The blessing of home is the reminder that the gift of Christmas is ours and the world’s both. Bless one another as we sing, as we hear the story. Like Mary, we can ponder these things in our hearts as we remember that we are loved. From the promised home we call the kingdom of God, we are most certainly loved!

Find a way, a safe way, to remind everyone of God’s amazing love this week.

Melanie Amend

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