Monday, December 12, 2016

Advent 2016

The Heavenly Host

"The Heavenly Host Prepares to Join an Angel of the Lord"


(When I think of the host joining the angel who's been telling the shepherds about Jesus, I'm struck by how much they wind up seeming like a back-up chorus or an afterthought for effect.  But then I started to think about how they might have come to decide to go along to the shepherds.)


How they can sleep!  It's remarkable.  Close their eyes and down they go in the bright starlight.  Not all of them.  What's that? Gabriel's off again.  Does he particularly enjoy waking people up?  You were just shocked they sleep so much.  It is remarkable.  Oh, let's sing again:

Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those that are with him are called and chosen and faithful; the lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, a great God, mighty and awesome.

It's those shepherds.  Who?  They're awake.  Every night.  Their sheep are fools.  Sheep take watching.  Not so much they can't see stars.  Those shepherds will see more than stars tonight.  What's that?  There's another light shining.

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!  Shine forth.  Stir up your might to save.  Restore us, O God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.  Let your hand be upon the one whom you made strong for yourself.  Restore us, O lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

God love 'em; like they watch those sheep.  Not tonight.  No? Watch Gabriel, not the sheep.  It's those shepherds he's going to.  Well, good; he shouldn't be disturbing people's sleep.  You'd think the starlight would.  We might.  He is:  they're scared.  Let's go sing for them:

The lord has taken you and brought you to become a people of his very own.  Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, goodwill among people.


(The Host's songs are adapted from the nrsv translations of Revelation 17:14, Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 80, Deuteronomy 4:20, and Luke 2:14.)


-- Jenni Halpin



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