Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Advent - 12/17/2017

Choir Cantata Introduction - Last week I talked about the vision of hope and new possibilities that Jesus brought as the Messiah. In today’s reading from Isaiah you find that Jesus’ vision was rooted in Old Testament prophecy, that he is understood to have fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to prisoners, to comfort all who mourn. It all has to do with a reversal of fortunes, words of hope for people who had lost hope. It’s these words that Jesus quotes when he first preaches in the synagogue in Nazareth, saying that “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

These verses from Isaiah are important Advent verses. In Christian interpretation, they have always been seen as verses that announced the coming of the Messiah, the one who would enact this divine vision. This morning, I think it’s important to at least mention them as words of Advent hope. They are not, however, the primary expression of Advent hope this morning. That comes through music in the choir’s annual cantata.

Using music to proclaim the word is a very Lutheran thing to do. Martin Luther was very scripture oriented, very word oriented so reading the Bible and having it explained and interpreted through preaching has always been central to Lutheran worship. But Luther was also very musically oriented and saw music as another means to proclaim the word. In the year 1523 he wrote the following: “Grace and peace! I am planning, according to the examples of the prophets and the ancient Fathers, to create vernacular psalms, that is hymns, for the common folk, so that the Word of God remain with the people also through singing. Therefore we are looking everywhere for poets.” Luther was looking for poets who could take words of scripture and recast them in ways that could be set to music knowing that words set to music stay with a person longer than words that are only spoken; think of all the old songs whose lyrics you remember. In any case, for Luther, writing hymns was another way to interpret scripture.

It’s probably more at this time of year than at any other that we experience the value of music in proclaiming the gospel. The familiar hymns and carols along with choir anthems do tell the story, but they they also convey what it means. It could be argued that the meaning is conveyed more effectively through music than through the efforts of any preacher.

That’s what we do here today and today, adding a special touch, the Sunday School kids join the choir in the proclamation. In addition to helping to tell the story, they can also help the rest of us to experience the magic of Christmas as seen through eyes of a child.

With that, we move to the beginning of this year’s Advent cantata, “Child of Promise.”

Rev. Warren Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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