Sunday, December 15, 2019, 6:00pm

Thank you to all who have participated in and attended this year’s Lessons and Carols service.  They say it takes a village to raise a child; we say it takes a village to put together this service. Thank you to the more than 50 members of our congregation leading the music and readings and to the many more voices joining in the congregational singing. Thank you also to the dessert bakers, the sound operators, the setup and clean-up crews, the liturgy volunteers, and the service planners (Cal Stapert, Ron Rienstra, Larry Figueroa & Maria Stapert) who began meeting this summer to plan the music and readings.

Beyond our own ‘COS village’ the music of tonight’s service comes from a much larger ‘village’ of musicians, Christian brothers and sisters from many times and places.  One song with particularly interesting origins is the Magnificat we sang from Senegal.  In 1963, nine monks from a French monastery journeyed to a remote village in Senegal where they founded the Keur Moussa Abbey.  (Keur Moussa means “House of Moses.”) From the beginning, the monks sought to invite the traditions, music and people of their host village into the monastery.  They have now created a new choral tradition, weaving together the rhythms and instrumental textures of the African continent with the sacred words and compositional structures of traditional Western plainchant. We have been able to bring this unique musical style to our service tonight with the help of Jolene Vos-Camy’s expertise in the French language, and former Minister of Worship, Greg Scheer’s expertise in arranging global music for Western musicians. (Listen to the recording in the order of the service below.)

Here is the order of the whole service with a few audio selections:

Prelude: “Savior of the Nations, Come” arranged for strings by Greg Scheer

Processional Carol: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

Bidding Prayer & Carol: “Come Then, Lord Jesus, Come”

This beautiful advent lament was also the work of a village of musicians. The song text originated with Horatius Bonar, a 19th century Scottish hymn writer. The text was set to this tune by a couple of contemporary song writers, Kenny Hutson and Katy Bowser, and then arranged in its current minor setting by Steven Rodriguez (the COS New Psalm Contest winner from 2016). The choral parts sung tonight were the work of Philip Rienstra, Ron Rienstra and Cal Stapert. We wove the parts of this song through the Bidding Prayer.

First Lesson: Genesis 3:8-15

Carol: “The Tree of Life” to the tune of the Wexford Carol, text by Stephen P. Starke, and music arranged by James Biery

Carol: “Your Labor is Not in Vain” by Wendell Kimbrough, Paul Zach, Isaac Wardell and Aaron Keyes

Second Lesson: Genesis 22:15-18

Carol: “Savior of the Nations, Come” text by Ambrose, 4th century, Martin Luther, translated by Calvin Seerveld; music: Enchiridia, Erfurt, arranged by Bruce Benedict

Third Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-9

Carol: “Venga tu reino” text by Silvio Meincke, translated by Pablo Sosa; music by Jaooao Carlos Gottinari and Edmundo Reinhardt

Fourth Lesson: Luke 1:26-38

Carol: “The Angel Gabriel” an old Basque carol

Carol: “Keur Moussa Magnificat” arranged by Greg Scheer

Fifth Lesson: Luke 2:1-7

Carol: “Love Came Down” by Deanna Witkowski

Carol: “Once in Royal David’s City”

It is a beautiful thing when the whole village sings together!

Sixth Lesson: Luke 2:8-20

Carol: Pifa, soprano recitatives, “Glory to God” chorus from Handel’s The Messiah

Erica Norman as soprano soloist

Seventh Lesson: John 1:1-14

Carol: “In a Deep, Unbounded Darkness” text for verses 1-4 based on an anonymous Chinese poem, by Mary Louise Bringle; verse 5 from “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” by Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius; music from Plainsong mode V, 13th century

Sending Carol: “Jesus, the Light of the World” verse text by Charles Wesley; music and refrain text by George D. Elderkin

Thank you to all who have been a part of our ‘village’ for this service.  We pray that you have heard the story of our salvation in Jesus Christ with new ears and open hearts.