Singing Our Hope: Praying with Advent Hymns

rencherThe Advent lessons, prayers, meditations, and music of the Church Catholic (universal) offer images of hope to prepare us for Christmas. I especially have found pronounced reminders of the coming of Christ and solace in the abundant texts of the hymns suggested for this season. The variety of tunes that accompany the texts unfold melodies and create images to inform what we pray–by singing. Together, the texts and tunes point to our hope for years to come in the annual celebration of the birth of “Emmanuel, God with us.”

St. Francis of Assisi offered that “singing is praying twice.” The worship life of St. Peter’s Church during Advent definitely reinforces this notion, particularly for those who are able to attend services. Whenever we sing in worship, we are doing more than making music to the glory of God. We are praying words of deep wisdom, conviction, and refreshment to reaffirm our faith and what we believe. Between the words we sing and faithful sounds we make, we position ourselves to be blessed by what actually could be called another form of the “prayers of the people.”

I suggest that each of us is called to make a joyful noise to the Lord, regardless of what others might say about how we sound or what we say about ourselves. However, when either choosing not to sing or simply being unable to sing, we can pray the hymns. If you would like to learn more about what I suggest and explore how one can pray the hymns of Advent and others seasons as a form of spiritual practice, please attend the Parish Hall Forum on Sunday, December 21, 9:30 a.m.

Advent blessings and the peace of the Lord be always with you.

– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector