The Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 19, 2010

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This week marks the fourth Sunday of Advent, a season that remembers the story of Christ’s birth and anticipates His return. Sometimes it feels like the rough and noisy sounds and images that contain the empty sentimentalism of the season can overwhelm our thoughts and prevent us from turning our hopes and hearts to the advent of Christ. Henri J. M. Nouwen gives a word of encouragement in turning our attention back to Christ.

I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving power…our temptation is to be distracted by them. When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence…I will always remain tempted to despair. The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream and overwhelm us with its claims and promises.

(Advent & Christmas Wisdom From Henri J. M. Nouwen, p. 2)

And so this week, The Crossing entered into another week of waiting, watching and longing for Christ, our Emmanuel, so that we may “prepare a way” for Him in our hearts this Advent season.

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Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
– Words: James Montgomery (1821), Music: Vito Aiuto (2008)

This hymn with a lilting new melody by pastor/musician Vito Aiuto (of The Welcome Wagon) helps us to celebrate the first Advent of Christ, the anointed Savior of world, while pointing us to His promised return.

Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.

We also have The Welcome Wagon’s CD in The Crossing’s bookstore. It’s well worth checking out.

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Mark lead us in a congregational prayer and then we sang…

One Redeemer by David A. Cover, Christine Cover and Patrick Miller

God has sent a Redeemer, His Son Jesus Christ, to redeem sinners like us. He did not leave us alone and abandon us in our time of need. This is what Advent and the whole bible is about.

From start to end,
You are the “Amen!”
to Your promises,
Jesus, my soul’s Savior,
the great story’s One Redeemer.

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You Have Redeemed My Soul
by Don and Lori Chafer, Arranged by Page CXVI

“You Have Redeemed My Soul” was one of the first songs we sang when The Crossing started. Our friends, Page CXVI have revived the song with this wonderful new arrangement. The verse gives a poetic picture of a life before and after Christ.

I was a hungry child, a dried up river.
I was a burned out forest
and no one could do anything for me.
But You put food in my body, water in my dry bed,
and to my blackened branches
you brought the springtime green of new life
and nothing is impossible for You.

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Kermit Summerall lead us in a reading of John 1:1-14 which reminded us of the light of Christ which has pierced the darkness of this broken world and brought salvation for all who believe.

You Are the Light by Matthew Smith and Jeff Pardo (based in part on a hymn text by Charles Wesley)

In You Are the Light we ask Christ to illuminate our dark hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
without Your hand to comfort me.
Joyless is the day’s return
’til Your mercy’s beams I see.
‘Til they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes and warm my heart

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We heard a call to confession based on John 3:19-21 followed by a time of silent confession.

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The Christ, Our Light by Martin Reardon

When all was dark and without dawn
You gave us Light, you sent your Son.
The Christ, the Christ, He shines, He shines
and drives all dark away, away.

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Forever by Chris Tomlin

“Forever” was a great response to Dave’s sermon this morning. The whole team worked on the “Advent” arrangement of the song which drew out the heart of the lyrics in a fresh way.

Give thanks to the Lord,
our God and King,
His love endures forever;
He is good, He is above all things,
His love endures forever;
Sing praise, sing praise.

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Music Team for December 19, 2010:

Carly Allen – bass guitar
Andrew Camp – guitars, mandolin and percussion
Mark Collum – vocals
David Cover – vocals, guitars and percussion
Scott Johnson – vocals, piano, acoustic guitar
Andrew Luley – drums
Kerry Maggard – keyboards
Kristen Pierce – vocals
Kermit Summerall – liturgist, percussion
Ethan Vizitei – vibraphone, percussion

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This week’s music blog features photos by Gerik Parmele. For more information about music written for corporate worship by members of the music team visit The Crossing Music. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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