Praise for the First and Second Advents of the Lord
Each of the five books of the Psalms closes with a doxology (Psalm 41:13, 72:18-19, 89:52, 106:48). This entire Psalm can be seen as a doxology that not only closes the fifth and final volume of the collected Psalms, but also closes the entire Book of Psalms.
Psalm 150 contains no argument, no real teaching, no real explanation. It is an eloquent, passionate cry to all creation to give Yahweh the praise due to Him.
“The psalm is more than an artistic close of the Psalter: it is a prophecy of the last result of the devout life, and, in its unclouded sunniness, as well as in its universality, it proclaims the certain end of the weary years for the individual and for the world.” (Alexander Maclaren)
1. (1) In every place, praise the LORD
Praise the LORD!Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
a. Praise the LORD! This last of the five ending psalms shares the same beginning and ending line as the previous four. Yahweh is praised, and His people are encouraged, exhorted to praise Him. There is no crisis or enemy in view; this is pure praise.
b. Praise God in His sanctuary: The sanctuary of God is a most fitting place for His praise. It is a place set apart for His honor, and in special recognition of God’s presence. If Yahweh is to be praised anywhere, it should be in His sanctuary.
i. In light of the New Covenant, we realize that God’s sanctuary is not fixed to a particular building in Jerusalem.
· Jesus serves His people in a sanctuary in the heavens (Hebrews 8:1-2).
· Jesus makes His sanctuary among His people collectively (2 Corinthians 6:16).
· Jesus makes His sanctuary in the individual believer (1 Corinthians 3:16).
· Ultimately Jesus Himself will be the sanctuary of God among His people (Revelation 21:22).ii. Praise God in His sanctuary: “In many places we have the compound word halelu-yah, praise ye Jehovah; but this is the first place in which we find halelu-el, praise God, or the strong God.” (Clarke)
c. Praise Him in His mighty firmament: The wide expanse of sky, with all it might in storms and weather, is also a fitting place for God’s praise. Since the firmament stretches from horizon to horizon, it tells us that God should be placed in every place under the sky.
i. “His glory fills the universe; his praise must do no less.” (Kidner)
ii. In His mighty firmament: “Through the whole expanse, to the utmost limits of his power.
As rakia is the firmament of vast expanse that surrounds the globe, and probably that in which all the celestial bodies of the solar system are included, it may have that meaning here.
Praise him whose power and goodness extend through all worlds; and let the inhabitants of all those worlds share in the grand chorus, that it may be universal.” (Clarke)
2. (2) For every reason, praise the LORD
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
a. Praise Him for His mighty acts: This is reason to praise God in every place. He has done great and powerful things, and none greater than what Jesus accomplished at the cross and the empty tomb.
The singer of Psalm 150 had only shadowy knowledge of it, but the ultimate demonstration of God’s power would come in the resurrection of Jesus (Ephesians 1:19-20).
For this and all His mighty acts, we should praise Him.
i. “‘His mighty deeds’ might be rendered ‘His heroic [or, valiant] acts.’ The reference is to His deliverance of His people as a signal manifestation of prowess or conquering might.” (Maclaren)ii. “‘Mighty’ were the ‘acts’ which God wrought for Israel; and ‘great’ was the Holy One in the midst of his ancient people; but mightier acts did he perform in Christ Jesus, for the redemption of the world.” (Horne)
b. Praise Him according to His excellent greatness: It is right to praise God for the mighty things He does; there is perhaps something greater in praising Him for who He is, in all the excellence of His greatness. It is a greatness that surpasses all else in the entire universe, excellent above all.
i. His excellent greatness: “Or, Greatness of greatness; which yet can never be done, but must be endeavoured.” (Trapp)
3. (3-5) With every expression, praise the LORD
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;Praise Him with the lute and harp!Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
a. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: The Psalmist looked at an orchestra of God’s people and conducted their music in praise to God. There was to be no instrument left out. Brass, string, wind, and percussion must all join in the praise of a God so great.
i. There was good reason to mention the trumpet first in this long list.
“The sound of trumpet is associated with the grandest and most solemn events, such as the giving of the law, the proclamation of jubilee, the coronation of Jewish kings, and the raging of war.
It is to be thought of in reference to the coming of our Lord in his second advent and the raising of the dead.” (Spurgeon)
ii. Adam Clarke described what he believed each musical instrument here mentioned to be.
· Trumpet: “Sophar, from its noble, cheering, and majestic sound.”
· Lute: “Nebel; the nabla, a hollow stringed instrument; perhaps the guitar.”
· Harp: “Kinnor, another stringed instrument, played on with the hands or fingers.”
· Timbrel: “Toph, drum, tabret, or tomtom, or tympanum of the ancients; a skin stretched over a broad hoop; perhaps something the tambarine.”
· Dance: “Machol, the pipe… It never means dance; see note on Psalm 149:3.”
· Stringed instruments: “Minnim. This literally signifies strings put in order; perhaps a triangular kind of hollow instrument on which the strings were regularly placed, growing shorter and shorter till they came to a point.”
· Flutes: “Ugab. Very ly the syrinx or mouth organ; Pan’s pipe; both of the ancients and moderns.”
· Loud cymbals: “Tseltselim. Two hollow plates of brass, which, being struck together, produced a sharp clanging sound.”
· Clashing cymbals: “What the high-sounding cymbals meant I know not; unless those of a larger make, struck above the head, and consequently emitting a louder sound.”
iii. “The list of instruments is not meant to be comprehensive, though it may be. We do not know what instruments the ancient Jews had. The point is actually that everything you have can be used to worship God.” (Boice)
iv. The broad list of musical instruments tells us that God wants every class and group of people to praise Him, because these instruments were normally played by different types of people.
“The horn was the curved ‘Shophar,’ blown by the priests; harp and psaltery were played by the Levites, timbrels were struck by women; and dancing, playing on stringed instruments and pipes and cymbals, were not reserved for the Levites.” (Maclaren)
b. Praise Him with loud cymbals: The individual instruments must play with strength and celebration, and the collection of them together fills the room with sound. This was not halting or hesitant praise, because the love and goodness of God is not halting or hesitant toward us in any way.
i. “Let’s be done with worship that is always weak and unexciting. If you cannot sing loudly and make loud music to praise the God who has redeemed you in Jesus Christ and is preparing you for heaven, perhaps it is because you do not really know God or the gospel at all. If you do know him, hallelujah.” (Boice)
4. (6) With every available breath, praise the LORD
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!
a. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD: This is a remarkably fitting conclusion to this Psalm and to the entire Book of Psalms. Everything that breathes should give its praise to the One who gave it breath. Every breath is the gift of God and praise is the worthy return we make for that gift.
i. Derek Kidner noted that the literal phrase is, “Let all breath praise the Lord.” John Trapp wrote, “Or, Let every breath praise the Lord… We have all as much reason to praise God as we have need to draw breath.”
ii. “The word nesamah [has breath] denotes all living creatures, endowed with life by the Creator (Genesis 1:24–25; 7:21–22), but always in distinction from the Creator.” (VanGemeren)iii. “The one condition of praise is the possession of breath, that is to say, life received from Him must return in praise to Him.” (Morgan)
iv. Revelation 5:13 tells us that this will happen: And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
b. Praise the LORD! The last line of the Psalter could be nothing else than Hallelujah! Yahweh is to be praised and honored, and will be so among His people and all creation.
i. “The psalter begins with ‘Blessed,’ and ends with ‘Hallelujah.’” (Meyer)
ii. “Your life may resemble the psalter with its varying moods, its light and shadow, its sob and smile; but it will end with hallelujahs, if only you will keep true to the will and way and work of the Most Holy.” (Meyer)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission
Advent Hymns: Savior of the Nations, Come
“Savior of the Nations, Comes” by Holy City Hymns from Advent No. 2 (2014)
Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home.
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.
Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh
Woman’s Offspring, pure and fresh.
He will come, he will come,
He will come down and rescue us.
Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin conceal this light,
Ever be our faith thus bright.
He will come, he will come,
He will come down and rescue us.
Now the Father’s only Son
Have o’er sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be,
When shall we its glories see?
Jesus come, Jesus come,
Jesus come down and rescue us.
Jesus come, Jesus come,
Jesus come down and rescue us.
He will come, he will come,
He will come down and rescue us.
HISTORY OF THE HYMN
This is the third installment of a series on the great hymns of Advent. To learn more about Advent, read the introductory post: On Advent: What It Is & Why You Need It.
Part 1 on the hymns of Advent can be read here: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Part 2 can be read here: A Hymn of Advent.
Much the hymn of the first week of Advent, this week’s hymn has a storied past. While O Come, O Come Emmanuel dated back to the O Antiphons from the 12th century, Savior of the Nations, Come dates back to the late 4th century.
The original version of Savior of the Nations, Come was St. Ambrose’s Veni, Redemptor Gentium composed in the late fourth century.
Many ancient hymns are erroneously attributed but this seems to be one of the few that was almost certainly penned by Ambrose (340ish-390CE). St.
Augustine (354-430CE) cites a verse of the hymn, making reference to Ambrose, his mentor, as the author of the hymn and Pope Celestine (??-432CE) quotes the hymn and attributes it to Ambrose in one of his sermons. 
Over a millennium later, Martin Luther “translated” Ambrose’s text into German in 1524CE. Luther’s version was titled Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland (Now Come, Savior of the Gentiles). It maintains the essence of Ambrose’s hymn though it reflects its fair share of German-poetical-linguistic influence.
This hymn, among many others, helps to account for Luther’s tremendous influence. Luther was so influential because of his employment of church music (often mixed with local folk tunes and melodies).
Songs he wrote or adapted helped fuel the Protestant Reformation as it opened the door to influencing not only the head but the heart and imagination as well.
Some two hundred years later, the greatest musical genius to walk the earth (IMHO), Johann Sebastian Bach ensured that Ambrose and Luther’s hymn would live on.
Bach incorporated Luther’s lyrics into his own canon and thus into the church (and broader cultural ) repertoire eternally.
In Leipzig in 1714, Bach composed the cantata Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland and saw fit that this song would be played on the first Sunday of Advent, ensuring its legacy.
Finally, a 19th century American pastor and professor by the name of William M. Reynolds translated Luther’s German version of the hymn into English in 1860. The version by Holy City Hymns is a slightly amended and re-arranged rendition of the Reynold’s version.
REFLECTIONS ON THE HYMN
First, a note about this version of the hymn. I only recently discovered this artist collective Holy City Hymns. They are “a liturgical music collective based in Charleston, SC.
”  They’re a great bunch from a great city.
I discovered the Holy City Hymn collective by searching for a good modern version of this ancient hymn and they were kind enough to post it on for me so I can showcase it on the blog… thanks y’all!
This is by far my favorite rendition of the hymn out there on the interwebs. I love this version because it’s simple and elegant. It’s stripped down and not over-produced. Some straightforward vocals, a little acoustic guitar, some lap steel and a spot or two of percussion (is that a mandolin in there?) and we’re golden. Good stuff, indeed.
Now onto some theological reflections on the hymn.
The second and third stanzas focus on the Incarnation of Jesus. Ambrose probably wrote this as a means of theological formation of his congregation over and against Arianism, a heresy he combatted. Arianism is the erroneous belief about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
Arians believe(d) that the Son of God, Jesus, was not eternally pre-existent with God the Father and so was created by him and therefore subordinate to Him. The Nicene Creed was developed in response to the Arian heresy and Ambrose’s hymn was clearly inspired, at least in part, by the theological vision of the Nicene Creed.
You can hear the echoes of the creed throughout the hymn, especially the section relating specifically to Jesus:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
Begotten, not made,
Of one Being with the Father
Through Him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
By the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary
And was made man…
The first stanza, in addition to describing the Incarnation, gives insight into the vision of God’s grand plan of salvation.The opening line, “Savior of the nations, come” is an indication that although Jesus the Messiah came to and through the Israel, God’s chosen people, God’s plan for salvation was not for Israel as opposed to the other nations but for the sake of the nations.
God’s plan was always that He would be His Son would be the Savior of the nations, not just of ethnic Israel.
We see this when God calls Abraham, the patriarch of His people:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3)
God chose Abraham and his descendants and chose to bless them in order that they would be a blessing. Through God’s chosen people, all the nations shall be blessed: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God’s intention all along was that when the Messiah comes, it would not be for Israel at the exclusion of the nations but for the nations through Israel. This is perhaps most clear in the prophet Isaiah. About the redemption of Israel and return from exile, Isaiah prophesies:
And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength— he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa 49:5-6).
Isaiah makes very clear that Lord called blesses His people in order that they might be a blessing. He says that God calls Israel to be a light to the nations (Isa 42:6). This would ultimately take place through the work of the Israel’s Messiah. Jesus the Messiah came as the Savior of Israel and the savior of the nations through Israel.
Ambrose’s hymn concludes with a fantastic Trinitarian doxology (this verse is omitted from many English versions) but appears in Luther and Bach’s. Advent beckons us to remember two things. First, that Jesus came to demonstrate His love and inaugurate the kingdom.
Second, we are to long for his second advent when He will bring justice and peace and ultimately establish His kingdom. As we pine and pray, Advent reminds us that we ought to do so with a posture of praise.
The fitting response to God’s love is praise: “Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 117). In step with the psalmist, Ambrose also calls us to praise:
Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.
 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, vol X on Ambrose, xxii.
 Self-description from their website: Holy City Hymns.
Gathering Around the Advent Wreath
Speaker 1: Lighting a candle in the darkness helps us find our way. In darkness we lose direction. We cannot see where we have been or where we are going. A single candle, flickering brightly, helps us find our way again.
Speaker 2: «Stir up your might, and come to save us. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved» (Psalm 80:2b-3).
The first candle is lit.
Speaker 3: Light one candle; see it glowBrightly, so that all may knowHow one candle shows the way
Making our darkness bright as God's day.
Speaker 4: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. All pray: Dear God, on this first Sunday in Advent, let this light shine brightly as the days grow shorter, so that we will be ready for your face to shine upon us at Christmas. In the Savior's name we pray. Amen.
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 2)
Keep awake! Be Ready!
( Matthew 24:36-44)
|Leader:||The Son of Man is coming, but about that day and hour no one knows,|
|People:||Neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.|
|Leader:||Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.|
|People:||Therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. We light the first candle of Advent to remind us to keep awake and be ready.|
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 1)
Speaker 1: Fire burns. It hurts. It can destroy. Fire also gives warmth and light. The coming of Christ is both a day of judgment and a day of promise. Two candles, flickering brightly, help us remember that the coming of Christ has many meanings.
Speaker 2: «Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky» (Psalm 85:10-11).
The first two candles are lit.
Speaker 3: Light two candles; see them glowBrightly, so that all may knowHow two candles show the way
Making our darkness bright as God's day.
Speaker 4: Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
All pray: Dear God, we have much to do and we are not sure we will be ready for the day of your coming. In Advent's light, help us to see what is important: to be who you want us to be, and to do what you would have us do. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 2)
Repent! Change your ways, be baptized!
( Matthew 3:1-12)
|Leader:||John the Baptist proclaimed, «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.»|
|People:||And the people went out to him and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.|
|Leader:||And John said, «I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful that I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.|
|People:||He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.» We light the first Advent candle to remind us to keep awake and be ready. (Pause while the first candle is lit.) We light the second Advent candle to remind us to change our ways.|
THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 1)
Speaker 1: The light glowing from our Advent wreath is burning brighter. This radiance warms our hearts and fills us with joy! The Lord has done great things for us. Let us rejoice.
Speaker 2: «May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves» (Psalm 126:5-6).
The first three candles are lit.
Speaker 3: Light three candles, see them glowBrightly, so that all may knowHow three candles show the way
Making our darkness bright as God's day.
Speaker 4: Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
All pray: Dear God, we carry many burdens and worry over many things. Help us to hear your promise in this Advent season, that in hearing, we may receive the Spirit's gift of joy. And may our spirits be kept sound at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 2)
The blind receive their sight!
( Matthew 11:2-11)
|Leader:||John asked Jesus, «Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?»|
|People:||Jesus said, «The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear.|
|Leader:||The dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.|
|People:||Truly I tell you, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.» We light the first Advent candle to remind us to keep awake and be ready. (Pause while the first candle is lit.) The second Advent candle reminds us to changes our ways. (Pause while the second candle is lit.) We light the third Advent candle to remind us of the good news that the blind can see and the lame can walk.|
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 1)
Speaker 1: Once God's plan was a mystery, hidden from our sight. Now God has disclosed what was kept secret for so very long; he has brought it out in the light. In the brighter light on this fourth Sunday in Advent, may we see more clearly the glory of God in Christ and sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever.
Speaker 2: «With my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens» (Psalm 89:1b-2).
All four Advent candles are lit.
Speaker 3: Light four candles, see them glowBrightly, so that all may knowHow four candles show the way
Making our darkness bright as God's day.
Speaker 4: I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
All pray: Dear God, your faithfulness has been great, leading us to this day of anticipation and celebration. May the glorious light of your steadfast love shine brightly in us and through us, that all may give you praise and glory. In the Savior's name we pray. Amen.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (option 2)
God is with us!
( Matthew 1:18-25)
|Leader:||When Mary was engaged to Joseph, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.|
|People:||An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, «Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.|
|Leader:||She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.»|
|People:||All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: «Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.» We light the first candle to remind us to keep awake and be ready. (Pause while the first candle is lit.) The second Advent candle reminds us to change our ways. (Pause while the second candle is lit.) The third Advent candle reminds us of the good news that the blind can see and the lame can walk. (Pause while the third candle is lit.) We light the fourth Advent candle to remind us that God is with us!|
CHRISTMAS EVE OR CHRISTMAS DAY (option 1)
The four Advent candles are lit before the service begins.
Speaker 1: The season for watching and waiting is over. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. This is the light of the world, and the darkness cannot extinguish it.
The Christ candle is lit.
Speaker 2: «O sing to the Lord a new song;Sing to the Lord, all the earth.Tell of his salvation from day to day.»Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among all the peoples» (Psalm 96:1-3).
Speaker 3: «Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;Bring an offering, and come into his courts.Worship the Lord in holy splendor;
Tremble before him, all the earth» (Psalm 96:7-9).
Speaker 4: «Say among the nations, 'The Lord is King!'Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice.He will judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with his truth» (Psalm 96:10a, 11a, 13b).
CHRISTMAS EVE OR CHRISTMAS (option 2)
To you is born a Savior!( Luke 2:1-14)
(The four candles on the wreath are already lit.)
|Leader:||There were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.|
|People:||Then an angel of the Lord stood before the, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.|
|Leader:||But the angel said to them, «Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.»|
|People:||Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, «Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!» We light the Christ candle to remind us that the Savior is born!|
Mass Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 5
1st Reading – IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people,says your God.Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to herthat her service is at an end,her guilt is expiated;indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!Every valley shall be filled in,every mountain and hill shall be made low;the rugged land shall be made a plain,the rough country, a broad valley.Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Go up on to a high mountain,Zion, herald of glad tidings;cry out at the top of your voice,Jerusalem, herald of good news!Fear not to cry outand say to the cities of Judah:Here is your God!Here comes with powerthe Lord GOD,who rules by his strong arm;here is his reward with him,his recompense before him. a shepherd he feeds his flock;in his arms he gathers the lambs,carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.
Responsorial Psalm – PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.I will hear what God proclaims;the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;justice and peace shall kiss.Truth shall spring the earth,and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;our land shall yield its increase.Justice shall walk before him,and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
2nd Reading – 2 PT 3:8-14
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,that with the Lord one day is a thousand yearsand a thousand years one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”but he is patient with you,not wishing that any should perishbut that all should come to repentance.But the day of the Lord will come a thief,and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roarand the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,what sort of persons ought you to be,conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flamesand the elements melted by fire.But according to his promisewe await new heavens and a new earthin which righteousness dwells.Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
Alleluia – LK 3:4, 6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel – MK 1:1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;he will prepare your way.A voice of one crying out in the desert:“Prepare the way of the Lord,make straight his paths.
”John the Baptist appeared in the desertproclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countrysideand all the inhabitants of Jerusalemwere going out to himand were being baptized by him in the Jordan Riveras they acknowledged their sins.John was clothed in camel’s hair,with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.And this is what he proclaimed:“One mightier than I is coming after me.I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Catholic Daily Reflections
Humility Prepares the Way for Christ
“A voice of one crying out in the desert. ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” Mark 1:3 (Year B)
On this, the Second Sunday of Advent, we are given the person of St. John the Baptist to ponder. What a gift he is! Jesus Himself stated that “among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). What a compliment!
What is it that made John so great? We can point to two things in particular. The first has to do with his calling and the second has to do with his virtue.
First of all, John was great because he was the transition from the Old Testament Prophets to the New Testament. He was the bridge that prepared for the new life to come. His unique mission makes him truly great.
But John was great not only because of his unique calling, he was also great because of the virtue he had in his life. And it is this gift that is worth pondering for our own inspiration more than any other.
The particular virtue that John had was that of humility. He saw himself as nothing other than a “voice of one crying out in the desert.” And the Word he spoke was Jesus.
John acknowledged that he was not even worthy to stoop down and untie the sandal straps of Jesus (Mark 1:7). He was praised by many and followed by many and yet he continuously said of Jesus that “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30).
John was not in it for praise and honor; rather, his mission was to point everyone to the Savior of the world. He could have sought the honor and praise of many and he would have certainly received it. They may have even made him king.But John was more than willing to fulfill his mission and then submit himself to the cruel sword of his executioner. His humility was such that he was focused only on Jesus and desired only to point to Him.
Reflect, today, upon this humility in your own life. Do you tend to point to yourself or to Christ? Do you seek the praise of others or do you humbly point all praise and glory to God? Humility is the path that St. John the Baptist took and it’s the path we must strive for each and every day.
Lord, thank You for the gift of St. John the Baptist. May his witness of humility inspire me in my Christian walk. Help me, Lord, to always point others to You rather than to myself. Jesus, I trust in You.
Catholic Quote of the Day
Bible Verse of the Day
Today's Morning Prayer
Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB and the Daily Reflections are adapted from My Catholic Life
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
The last psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, ends with this invitation: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” German composer Joachim Neander gave us words to do just that when he wrote his most well-known hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.
” Hymnologist John Julian declares this to be “a magnificent hymn of praise to God, perhaps the finest production of its author, and of the first rank in its class” (Dictionary of Hymnology).
And indeed, this is a hymn that has stood the test of time (over 300 years) to remain one of the most beloved praise hymns in the Church.
As we sing these words, we join with the voices, in many languages, of millions who have gone before us, and those across the globe, to sing these great words of thanksgiving and honor to the God who created us, protects us, and befriends us.
The text of this great hymn of praise is loosely Psalm 103: 1-6 and Psalm 150, but it pulls on imagery of praise from throughout the psalms.
First written in five stanzas in German and published in 1680 by Joachim Neander, the first three verses of the original text were translated in 1863 by Catherine Winkworth. The fourth and fifth verses were translated anonymously.
Modern hymnals contain anywhere from 3-5 verses, usually choosing to omit the original 3rd stanza: “Praise to the Lord, who has fearfully, wondrously, made you.”
Each stanza addresses a different aspect of the nature of God: creator, sovereign, defender and befriender, refuge, and protector.
The tune LOBE DEN HERREN was first published in the Ander Theil des Emeurten Gesangbunch, Part II (1665). Neander altered the tune in 1680 to fit his text, and this is the tune associated with his text ever since. A widely used descant was composed by Craig S. Lang.
A tune much loved by many, Bach used it as the foundation of his cantata 137, where it is especially dominant in the trumpet and choir towards the end.
Many worship artists have arranged and recorded their own adaptations of the hymn. Watch for the different syncopations and rhythms in all these different versions — the length that you hold the last word in each line varies significantly.
Here are a few examples of these arrangements:
- Travis Cottrell adds a simple refrain to the original text that simply repeats the phrase, «Praise the Lord,» helping us lift our voices in simple praise. The key changes also add more power to the hymn as a whole.
- Greg Scheer also adds his own chorus ( Psalm 103:1), the lead sheet of which can be found on his website.
This is one of the most familiar hymns of praise, and is a wonderful way to begin a worship service or time of praise throughout the year. When singing with a congregation, this becomes a communal song of praise, but it is also possible to incorporate a time of personal praise.
Certain traditions in the church around the globe practice singing in the spirit or singing spontaneously: singing a tune that you haven’t borrowed from anyone, and words that you have come up with on the spot.
This time of spontaneous singing can be framed by a familiar tune and text, such as “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” Especially when using the Cottrell refrain, while the band keeps playing through the chorus, invite the congregation to sing their own words of praise to God, using any words, and any tune.
This might be something very new to your congregation, and if so, don’t be surprised when you can’t hear anyone the first few times. But lead confidently with your vocalists and don’t do it for too long the first couple times; if you continue this practice, over time people will begin to feel more comfortable, and it can be a powerful and moving way of joining our individual songs with those that we sing as one people.
Here are some good resources for organ and piano:
- Hobby, Robert. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. (SATB with organ, timpani and congregation)
- Burkhardt, Michael. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. (Congregation, Brass Quartet, Timpani, Organ)
- Callahan, Charles. Partita on Lobe den Herren
- Rejoice! (Inspiring Music of Praise)
- Behnke, John. The Creative Organist II
- Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship.
- Postludes of Praise for Piano.
Other Congregation and Choral arrangements:
Laura de Jong,
Events are random (with one exception) time periods when special mobs are spawned. There are 7 events in the mod — 4 occur at night, and 3 occur during the day. Because events do not occur all the time, it is important to take advantage of them when they do.
The beginnings and endings of events are all announced in the chat.
It is possible for multiple events to occur at the same time.
Night Events[edit | edit source]
The following events all occur at night. They are announced shortly after the sun sets, and end as the sun rises.
Every night, as the sun sets, the message «Night falls upon the world.» will be displayed, followed by the appropriate Tribute message (e.g. «The gods are not impressed with your lack of contribution.») This does NOT signify an «event», and does not affect mob spawns. However, if a nighttime event does occur, the announcement will be within seconds of the aforementioned message.
Full Moon Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: The ground bathes in the pearly light of the moon.
Closing message: The moon falls beyond the horizon.
The Full Moon Event is the only event that does not occur randomly, instead occuring whenever there is a full moon.
In Minecraft the moon goes through a Lunar Cycle. Each Lunar Cycle consists of 8 moon phases; on the 8th moon phase, the Full Moon comes out.
The first night of the game is always a Full Moon, so it is recommended that the player makes a bed as soon as possible to skip the night.
However, if the player is skilled enough, it may be a good idea for the player to stay outside and fight the mobs to train the Hunter skill.
According to the Minecraft Wiki, each lunar cycle takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. This means that assuming no nights are skipped through usage of a bed, a Full Moon Event will occur every 2 hours and 30 minutes of gameplay.
On such a night the Full Moon Event begins and special mobs can spawn. All of these mobs can be quite dangerous compared to normal night mobs. The Skellox and Scrubby are really fast and can outrun sprinting players, and the Irkling, Night Watcher, and Dark Beast are really tanky. The latter two use Blindness to confuse players (which can be dangerous when the faster mobs are around).
Bloodhunt Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: The hunt for blood has begun!.
Closing message: The blood hunters retreat, satisfied.
The Bloodhunt Event has a 1 in 18 (5.56%) chance of occurring every night.
Special mobs can spawn during the Bloodhunt event. The mobs spawned during the event has a chance to drop realmstones required to enter The Abyss.
The Anemia is a rather dangerous mob as it shoots explosive projectiles that can easily kill a player and destroy said player's items, so if the player is ill-equipped it may be a better idea to skip the Bloodhunt event.
Soul Scurry Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: Lost souls scurry across the world in the darkness.
Closing message: The lost souls fade as the sun comes up.
The Soul Scurry event has a 1 in 16 (6.67%) chance of occurring each night.
During the Soul Scurry event, six ghost versions of common Overworld mobs will spawn. These mobs are translucent, ghostly versions of their in-the-flesh counterparts and usually have higher health and/or attack strength.
These mobs all drop Ghostly Stones, which can be used on the Ascension Shrine to increase Augury levels, traded to the Primordial Banker for Gold Coins, or crafted with Mystite Ingots to make special Extraction tools.
Lunar Invasion Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: The world just got stranger.
Closing message: The strange creatures begin to vanish.
The Lunar Invasion Event has a 1 in 22 (4.55%) chance to occur each night. Alien- mobs will spawn across the world during this time.
Lunar Invasion mobs all drop the Orbulon item, which can be used to trade with the Lottoman for Magic Repair Dust.As of version 3.1.2, the Terrestrial that drops the Lunalus Realmstone will spawn rarely during this event.
Day Events[edit | edit source]
The following events all occur during the day. They are announced within a minute of (but not immediately after) sunrise, and end just before the «Night falls upon the world.» message.
Death Day Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: Today is a good day to die.
Closing message: You survived until night, but it doesn't end here.
The Death Day Event has a 1 in 25 (4%) chance to occur each day.
The Death Day Event is particularly important because the Death Hunter spawns during this event. The Death Hunter is the only mob that drops the Immortallis Realmstone. The Headless Destroyer can be farmed early on for Hunter experience, but the other two mobs don't really do anything significant.
Death Hunters are very difficult to melee due to their gravitation abilities, but sneaking/crouching before they pull you into the air negates their ability.
It should also be noted that the Headless Destroyer does 23 (×11.5) damage on Normal difficulty, enough to one-shot unarmored players, and bring players in clean Iron Armor to the brink of death due to the «armor toughness» mechanic.
Creep Day Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: The hissing sounds begin.
Closing message: The hissing fades away.
The Creep Day Event has a 1 in 30 (3.33%) chance to occur each day. Creeper- UFOs called Hosts will spawn in the world. While Hosts themselves do not attack, they spawn Creepers periodically if players are close by. Because of this, if a Host spawns close to anything important during this event, it's best to shoot it from a distance or just leave it alone.
This event is very important, for the Hosts will drop Creeponia Realmstones. This can also be a good time to grind for gunpowder.
Big Day Event[edit | edit source]
Opening message: Today is a big day.
Closing message: The ground settles as the sun sets.
The Big Day Event has a 1 in 26 (3.85%) chance to occur each day. Giants will spawn in their respective biomes and can be harvested for materials.
The Wood Giant is particularly useful as they are not only the most common but can be farmed for half a stack of Oak Wood each, which will usually last the player for quite a while.