and a few lines of 17th century poetry. The subject is the shepherds' worship.
The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they
had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (NIV)
[After a first-hand encounter with heavenly messengers and an "up close and
personal" view of the promised child, I wonder what the shepherds' "glorifying
and praising" was like? Did they sing? Did they pray? Did they recite
scripture? Were they changed forever?]
The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymn for thee?
My soul's a shepherd too: a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is Thy Word; the streams, Thy Grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the daylight hours.
-George Herbert (1593-1633) from the poem "Christmas" as found in Ralph
Vaughan Williams' grand Christmas cantata HODIE (THIS DAY). The text of the
cantata combines scripture passages (Matthew 1, Luke 2, and John 1) with an
exciting array of British poets - John Milton, Miles Coverdale, Thomas Hardy,
George Herbert, William Drummond, and the composer's wife,
Ursula Vaughan Williams.
[Those of you within a reasonable drive of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, will
have an opportunity to hear this amazing work on December 18 when it will be
performed by the Chapel Hill Carrboro Community Chorus and Musica Chamber
Orchestra, under the baton of Carl Stam. The performance will feature soprano
Elizabeth Linnartz, tenor Stafford Wing, baritone James Longmire, and the
34-voice Nicolas Children's Chorus. Also on the program is Bach's WIE SCHON
LEUCHTET DER MORGERNSTERN, BWV 1 ("How brightly shines the morning star"). The
concert is at 8:00pm, on December 18, 1998, in Hill Hall Auditorium, on the
Campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (directly behind
University United Methodist Church on Franklin Street). Tickets are $8 ($5
for children) and are available at the door.]
Have a great week,
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina