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Year C, Advent 3, 2018 – Joy!

December 14, 2018 / D2 / Advent

Welcome back! The passages for this week are full of singing and rejoicing and joy – until we get to John the Baptist calling people streaming out into the wilderness to see him a “brood of vipers”. In the past, we were amused to discover that phrase had a very colorful alternative, to whit: “You bunch of illegitimate snakes!” Talk about bringing down the party. Nevertheless, today we will concentrate on PEOPLE and MUSIC smarts for the following Advent 3 texts. By the time we get to John, we’ll be ready to listen to what he has to say!

Worksheets for CAdvent3

This week’s texts:

Zephaniah 3:14-20 [01:58 & 3:30]

In recent years, some churches have begun offering a special worship service somewhere around the third Sunday in Advent called “Blue Christmas”. This service recognizes that there are people in our midst for whom The Season of Cheer is anything but cheerful due to the circumstances of their lives. The liturgy and sermon sensitively recognize loss and offer sanctuary to those who are suffering. Someone should have told Zephaniah! He stands amid people who are bereft of their homes and homeland and tells them to “Rejoice and sing aloud!” He just won’t stop. “Exult with all your heart and shout for joy!” Why be a bull in a china shop, Zephaniah? What do you see that makes you so out of place with the mood of your people? Verses 15 through 20 hold the answers! We think full throated love songs or lullabys and a discussion of Picasso’s cubism illustrate this very well.

Isaiah 12:2-6 [15:37]

Inserting Isaiah in the place of the Psalm seems rather odd – I don’t normally associate the prophet with worship. However, the passage reads much like any other ancient hymn of praise. “I will trust and not be afraid.” We both focused on this part of verse two for our illustrations and special effects. For MUSIC, we have a song that shows the result of trusting in God for deliverance and a fantastic story about The E Street Band told on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. Disney’s Aladdin has two wonderful scenes about trust and if you do not practice testimony in your worship, we have a link below that gives some ways to start. 

Philippians 4:4-7 [23:19]

I know a song based on these verses. I found this version, which is the same music and lyrics but done much differently. The linked clip is a children’s song and has a lullaby sound to it. The one I learned was played on guitar, encouraged lots of loud singing, and involved clapping and waving one’s hands above the head. It was a good way to focus our attention and great aerobic exercise! (BODY smart freebie!) The joyful exercise of rejoicing leaps out of these verses. David has a rhythmic idea for praise and I have some thoughts about the word translated in the NRSV as “gentleness”. 

  • MUSIC smart – [28:09]
  • PEOPLE smart – [24:14]
    • Is gentleness passivity or bold spiritual work? Click the link and find some meaty discussion opportunity!

Luke 3:7-18  [30:35]

Oh, John the Baptist. We were having such a lovely time, rejoicing and waving our hands around above our heads. Why do you have to be so rude? But, wait! His warnings and vivid images have done something with the people who heard him. Not only do they not refuse to listen to him or give him a cold shoulder, but they engage him and ask him what they might do in order NOT to be destroyed! For MUSIC smart, try the suggested Reader’s Theater option and for PEOPLE smart, think about how John did not ask anyone to do anything heroic. Instead, he simply asked them to go home, go back to their everyday lives, and be better in them. Hm. How easy is that, really?

  • MUSIC smart – [33:55]
    • Download the worksheet for a combination PEOPLE / MUSIC smart special effect!
  • PEOPLE smart – [36:46]

Image Credit: Photo by Ben White on Unsplash. Used by permission. 

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