Advent candles tell their story
Source: Singing the Faith: 165
Words: Mark Earey
Music: “Angel Voices” by Edwin Monk
Ideas for use
For the last three Sundays in Advent sing the first verse (marked Advent 1) followed by the verse for the appropriate Sunday. For these later Sundays in Advent, a soloist or choir might sing Verse 1, with the congregation joining in with the verse for the day. On Christmas Day, only Verse 5 should be sung. Mark has also written spoken responses’ to accompany each verse. His liturgy can be downloaded here.
Mark Earey has written a number of hymns over the years to sit alongside the week-by-week lighting of the Advent candles. It took the inspiration of Edwin Monk’s well-known tune, ‘Angel voices’, for him to write words that he was really happy with – and even this has gone through a number of versions to reach the form printed in Singing the Faith.
For Mark, it is the vision of the Day of the Lord – a hope that God will bring the world to fulfilment and new creation through Jesus Christ – that really captures his imagination. “I love Advent,” he says, “and always have done since I became a Christian as a teenager – and it’s the eschatological themes associated with that time of the year that always engages me.”
Though still following the familiar sequence of Advent themes, the carol continually reminds us of a world that will one day be as God wishes it to be: “’Come, Lord, soon,’ we say. Pain and sorrow, tears and sadness changed for gladness on that day”. This idea is underpinned in the accompanying liturgy that Mark has written.
Mark Earey is Co-director of the Centre for Ministerial Formation and Tutor in Liturgy and Worship at the ecumenical Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. He joined Queen’s in 2007, having been a Team Rector of Morley in the Diocese of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, for five years. He has written a number of books, including Liturgical Worship: a fresh look, how it works, why it matters. It was written, he says, for “lovers and loathers of liturgical worship”.
Mark wrote an alternative version of V4 of ‘Advent candles tell their story’ for the Anglican hymn book, Sing Praise:
Mary’s gift beyond all telling
we recall today:
Son of God within her dwelling,
born to show the way.
Who could guess the final story?
- cross and glory,
See also Advent candles – three new hymns