Today is Sunday the 5 December, the second Sunday of Advent.
The choir of Holy Sepulchre London, directed by Peter Asprey, sing ‘Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen’.
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting;
for God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven.
For God will give you evermore the name,
‘Righteous Peace, Godly Glory’.
Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height;
look towards the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God’s command.
For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.
There is an underlying image here of getting dressed up for a celebration. Think of a wedding, or a birthday dinner, something like that. Imagine yourself making preparations for that kind of event.
As the passage moves on, everybody coming to this celebration starts to gather. You meet with relations you haven’t seen for a while, with old friends and perhaps new ones. What does that feel like.
Listen to the passage again in the light of the celebration preparations that you’ve been imagining.
It’s clear from the end of the passage that it is God who is giving out the invitations to this great celebration. Speak to him, as the prayer comes to an end, about how you feel about being on God’s invitation list.