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HYMNS FOR 2021 ADVENT III--John the Baptist Preaches

OT Zephaniah 3:14-18a

Epistle Philippians 4:4-7

Gospel Luke 3:7-18

John the Baptist El Greco

I dedicated the OT lesson to my colleague Kathryn Shifferdecker who spoke once about the joy children had in the Christmas story. The Epistle lesson I dedicated to the Nina and Richard Bliese, the president of Luther Seminary at the time. The Epistles are difficult to write hymns for since they are more theological than narrative, so I played around with difficult forms such as the one here. With its odd meter and then the first word of each stanza being the title of the hymn, along with the first word in the last line, I made the form difficult to write, but easy to remember, I hope. Repetition is a musical impulse and helps memory. In the Gospel lesson, where John continues his sermon, I could see him by the Jordan River with the sun shining on it like fire, as he spoke of Christ bringing the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

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