O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (8)

Green leaves all fallen, withered and dry;
Brief sunset fading, dim winter sky;
Lengthening shadows,
Dark closing in…
Then, through the stillness, carols begin!

Oh fallen world, to you is the song!
Death holds you fast and night tarries long.
Jesus is born, your curse to destroy!
Sweet to your ears, a carol of Joy!

Pale moon ascending, solemn and slow;
Cold barren hillside, shrouded in snow;
Deep,empty valley, veiled by the night;
hear angel music–hopeful and bright!

Oh fearful world, to you is the song.
Peace with your God, and pardon for wrong.
Tidings for sinners, burdened and bound,
A carol of joy! A Savior is found!

Earth wrapped in sorrow, lift up your eyes!
Thrill to the chorus filling the skies.
Look up, sad-hearted.  Witness God’s love;
Join in the carol swelling above!

Oh friendless world, to you is the song!
All Heaven’s joy to you may belong!
You who are lonely, laden, forlorn:
Oh fallen, oh friendless world!
To you, a Saviour is born!

—Eileen Berry (and a beautiful choral setting by Dan Forrest)

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (2)

God of all wisdom,
our hearts yearn for the warmth of Your love,
and our minds search for the light of Your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior,
and strengthen us to grow in love,
that at the dawn of His coming
we may rejoice in His presence
and welcome the light of His truth.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ
Amen.

—Book of Common Prayer

Only God

Worship is a transitive verb. This isn’t a lesson in English grammar, it is a vital issue in biblical theology and in Christian living. Worship is a transitive verb! That is, it demands an object. And the only the object it will tolerate in biblical religion is the object God. So, when someone says, “O, I just come to worship God,” I wonder whether they really have got clarity about the object of our worship. It is God and no other. That’s what worship is really all about; it can never be divorced from the God who is its only object.

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)

Real Life

What is this one life, so brief, given to me by God for? I tell you, my dear friends, it’s for Him. It’s for Him, and you will never really discover yourself or your destiny until you’ve discovered that: that’s for Him, and so that you might offer your life to Him to be a means of bringing Him glory and honor.

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)

For His Glory

My friends, we need to learn a little of a jealous concern for the glory of God, because this is what puts worship in its true context. And it’s so easy to be worshiping idols. Let me put one illustration of that into the whole context of worship. I overheard someone, some time ago now, coming out of a church service and saying to someone who was standing nearby, “Well, I didn’t get a thing out of that worship. Didn’t do anything for me!” And I heard the voice of a kindly and wise pastor saying, “I always thought that what mattered about worship was what God got out of it, not you and me.”And when we begin to have the test of worship what I get out of it, beloved, we are in the world of idol worship, and the idol is ourselves.

O for a passion for the glory of God!

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)