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Music for Rorate Coeli-Fourth Sunday in Advent

Rejoice in the Lord Alway   The CHORAL VOLUNTARY is a setting of the Epistle text from Philippians 4.4-7.  Today’s setting was once attributed to English composer John Redford, who died in 1547 and was one of the earliest composers of English organ music.  Scholars now believe that this particular choral setting was not written until after his death.  Written for four-part choir, today we hear the motet sung by soprano soloist with organ accompaniment of the other vocal parts.

Come, then, O Lord Jesus   The PROCESSIONAL HYMN, “Once He Came in Blessing” (333), sings of our vocation here on earth— “Let us here confess You” — while we await our Lord’s calling us to heaven: “Till in heaven we bless You.”  Author Johann Roh (d. 1547) was a pastor in Jungbunzlau, Bohemia (Czech Republic) and later a bishop.  He edited both a German and a Bohemian hymnal.  His hymn directs us clearly to the work of God’s Son to release us from our sins.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel   The HYMN OF THE DAY, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (357) is based on the seven “O Antiphons” (see reverse) that are used with the Magnificat during the Office of Vespers for the last seven days of Advent.  They bid our Lord “Come!” using seven different prophetic Names for the promised Messiah. The text of the antiphons is found on the same page as the hymn in Lutheran Service Book.

In the thirteenth century, an anonymous author composed the antiphons into a verse form and added the refrain.  In 1966, the source of the plainsong tune Veni Emmanuel was discovered to be a fifteenth-century French Processional used by Franciscan nuns.

O Love, beyond all telling   The HYMN TO DEPART, “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” (334) is Paul Gerhardt’s Advent hymn.  The love of God is personified in Jesus in stanza 4: a love beyond all telling “that led Him to embrace, In love, all love excelling, Our lost and fallen race.”  In humility and meekness, Our Lord comes to His people as He became flesh.  In this hope and consolation, we approach the end of this Advent season. We look for our Lord’s Second Coming: “O glorious Sun, now come, Send forth Your beams so cheering, And guide us safely home.”

The lessons are Deuteronomy 18.15–19; Philippians 4.4–7; and St. John 1.19–28.
The hymns are: 333 Once He Came in Blessing
357 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
332 Savior of the Nations, Come
335 O Bride of Christ, Rejoice
356 The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came
334 O Lord, How Shall I Meet You
Prelude: Savior of the Nations, Come (BWV 659) -J.S. Bach
Introit setting by Lucas Lossius
Organ introduction to “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by Paul Manz
Choral stanzas of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by Ludwig Lenel
Choral Voluntary: “Rejoice in the Lord Alway” -John Redford
Choral stanza of “Savior of the Nations, Come” by Kenneth T. Kosche

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