Christian worship praises the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but in practice we find it far easier to worship the first two persons of the Trinity than the third. This is reflected in the hymns that we sing. Songs that praise the Father or Jesus Christ far outweigh songs of praise to the Spirit. In fact, most of the time the Spirit is only praised when included as the third stanza of praise to the Trinity (“Father/Jesus/Spirit we love you”).
One of the challenges when planning a hymnal is deciding where a particular song belongs, knowing that though the index in the back of the hymnal may suggest multiple places for a particular song, the location of the song has greater influence on when it will be sung. The challenge in this Noteworthy is to think outside the hymnal placement, as each one of these songs can be used both during the time from Advent to Epiphany as well as at other times of the year.
Why This Dark Conspiracy/Psalm 2
Psalm 2 may be best known through that famous aria in Handel’s Messiah in which the bass thunders and the strings shudder: “Why do the nations so furiously rage together? And why do the peoples imagine a vain thing?”
The seasons of Lent and Easter bring countless images of our Lord’s suffering, passion, and resurrection. What better way to capture the significance of this image-rich season than through these songs with their rich texts and music?
Every year Christians celebrate the two great festivals of Christmas and Easter that give meaning to our lives: Christ’s coming to earth in human form and in humility, and Christ’s return to his Father in a glorified human body. This year, Advent begins on November 27 with the Scripture passages in the Revised Common Lectionary for Year B.
The Christian church has a reputation for being a bit stodgy. Our worship seldom attracts criticism for being too joyful or too exuberant—indeed, if we had to make a biblical comparison, many of us would be forced to admit that our worship is closer to Eutychus falling asleep “as Paul talked on and on” (Acts 20:9) than to “the roar of a great multitude” (Rev. 19:1).