Music for Sunday 17th December: Advent 3 (Gaudete), year B

The readings for this week are
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126 OR Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Gaudete Sunday, hurrah! Rejoice!

Now it gets interesting. There’s enough imagery in Isaiah alone to last several weeks: the focus on justice and good news for the poor and downtrodden, or the rejoicing as a bride, or the earth bringing forth its shoots.

To complicate things further, you could have the Magnificat as a canticle instead of the psalm this week, or next week instead. Psalm 126 is one of the Songs of Ascents, and it’s about a harvest of (guess what?) joy and thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians is short and sweet, rejoice in the Lord always, and some other instructions and benedictions from the letter-writer. And “the one who calls you is faithful”.

And then we have John the Baptist, again, this time as told by John rather than Mark.

If you are using the Magnificat this week, check out the Evensong page for a couple of recommendations. If you’re really going all-out for Gaudete you could also consider Isabella Leonarda’s Magnificat, but it does require two violins and a basso continuo as well as the choral parts and it lasts a good nine or ten minutes, so this is not a good substitute for the psalm at your average Parish Eucharist! Here’s a recording:

Isabella Leonarda’s Magnificat on YouTube

The hymn I wrote for last week would work well again this week, but… well, probably not if you used it last week.

Music for Sunday 10th December: Advent 2 (Year B)

The readings for this Sunday are:

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Isaiah: Comfort ye my people. Make the way straight. The Lord is coming, and he will feed his flock like a shepherd.
Psalm: A prayer for God’s favour. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
2 Peter: It’s all a bit wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… The Lord is not slow, but patient; and then some stuff about what it will be like when God does turn up, new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. In the meantime we are to wait patiently and strive to be found at peace.
Gospel: good old John the Baptist, telling us who’s coming next. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

I was expecting to run into a Sunday eventually where I couldn’t make many recommendations yet, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon.

There’s always Crimond, if you didn’t use it last week, given the feeding of flocks like a shepherd; but that isn’t particularly Advent-y.

So, I wrote a hymn tune myself, to some words by Percy Dearmer.