“Festival of Carols” – 2nd Week of Advent

  During the 2nd week of advent, there was a special combined service in the Bosch Hall of Ghala at 9:30am.  It was a service of scripture and carols with choirs and instumentalists.  Like the beginning of every Friday morning 9am service, Pastor Jack Buteyn led the children of the PCO in a short song before sending them off for “Sunday Friday school”.  The song he taught them this time was, “I am a C…I am a CH…I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.  And I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y.”  Cute stuff and the kids loved it!  Dr. Ebenezer leading his choirs, The Muscat Men’s Chorus and Muscat Christian Harmony, during their “Christmas Lullaby“.  The Muscat Singers singing “Carol of the Bells“.  The 3rd choir, which you can only see a few members of in this photo on the far left, is the British School Community Choir.  I was not in a good spot to capture their photo so unfortunately that’s all there is.  Susan Ebenezer doing one of the 11 readings during the service.  The reading I was most impressed with was a reading/song by Vinoo Peppin/Carina Krogh.  (I really wish I captured that on video!)  Here is the text they read/sang:  Silent Night /  I heard them sing the beatiful carol, Silent Night.  How lovely the sound.  But, on another occasion I also heard them cry out, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”  Holy Night / On that holy night long ago, a star led shepherds and wise men to the manger.  Yet on another night some thirty years later, the same stars shone down showing the way for soldiers and thugs to Gethsemane.  All is calm / The calmness of the night of Your birth brings to mind the calmness You showed, as all about you throng demanded Your death.  All is bright / The reverent brightness of that nights contrasts the darkness which came over the whole land until the ninth hour.  For the sun stopped shining, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Round yon virgin, mother and Child / The image of one at peace.  Yet now I see You on that cross, LORD.  Those long thorns piercing Your scalp.  Your Holy brow dripping with sweat and Your Holy blood.  Holy infant / And carrying Your own cross, You went out to the place of the skull.  Now those huge awful nails, tearing through Your holy hands and feet.  And in spite of all the pain and agony which You experience, You suffer even more as You see your mum crying at the foot of the cross.  So tender and mild / Then in total agony, You gasped, “My God, my God.  Why have You forsaken Me?”  But as You glance at the crowd and then to the heavens, You ask Your Heavenly Father: “Please forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.”  Sleep… / And there You breathed Your last.  Dying a death which I deserved.  Jesus, You died for my sins.  You were sinless, yet you chose to take on my sin.  You loved me that much that You died for me when I was yet a sinner.  In heavenly peace… / When will we get it?  When will our hearts and souls be touched by this Holy Saviour, Jesus Christ?  When will we turn from ourselves and our wicked ways and, in peace, turn to You, Jesus?  Sleep in heavenly peace. / Mia culpa, mia culpa.  Mia maximum culpa.  Please forgive me.  Please forgive me.  Please wholeheartedly forgive me.  I love You, LORD.  An appropriate choice by the PCO banner team as “Joy to the World” is the most-published Christmas hym of North America.  Interestingly, Isaac Watts wrote the words of “Joy to the World” (based on Psalm 98) as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a Christmas song celebrating His first coming as a babe born in a stable.”  Another awesome banner rightly created for this festive season!  “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

So far, it’s been a great Christmas season here in Oman.  We’re looking forward to upcoming events/concerts at the PCO!


6 responses to ““Festival of Carols” – 2nd Week of Advent

  1. Andy,

    I was surprised by your comments regarding the Community Choir Muscat’s contributions, and would like to set the record straight. The Choir sang Andrew Carter’s “A Maiden Most Gentle” which includes the words “Ave Maria”, a biblical reference to the Angel’s greeting to Mary, not a rendition of the Roman Catholic prayer. Andrew founded the mixed voice Chapter House Choir at York Minster and was its conductor for 17 years. “A Maiden Most Gentle” is one of several of his carols to have been included in the Christmas Eve Broadcast from King’s College, Cambridge. We had no qualms about performing it at Protestant Church in Oman but certainly would not have done so if we had thought it would offend anyone. I include the lyrics below as well as a URL at which you can hear the carol.

    A maiden most gentle and tender we sing
    Of Mary the mother of Jesus our King
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

    How blest is the birth of her heavenly child
    Who came to redeem us in Mary so mild
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

    The archangel Gabriel foretold by his call
    The Lord of creation and Saviour of all
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

    Three kings came to worship with gifts rich and rare
    And marvelled in awe at the babe in her care
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

    Rejoice and be glad at this Christmas we pray
    Sing praise to the Saviour sing endless Ave
    Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

    [audio src="http://andrewcarter.org/sites/default/files/AMaidenMostGentle.mp3" /]

  2. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for setting the record straight. Unfortunately, Catholics have polluted just about any reference to “Ave Maria” through prayers/songs to Mary which contradict God’s word. If you do a quick google search, you will find that Catholics LOVE Andrew Carter’s music and they believe that his song, “A Maiden Most Gentle” IS strong admiration (even prayer) to Mary. The fact that it is often included in many Roman Catholic Christmas concert line-ups (right next to the Roman Catholic song/blasphemous prayer “Ave Maria”) tells me enough. Here is what one “Catholic” choir wrote about Andrew Carter’s song:
    “A Maiden Most Gentle, Andrew Carter
    Andrew Carter is an English composer, and the melody of this delightful setting is based on the French tune well-known to Catholics as “Immaculate Mary.” The text is based on the writings of St. Bede the Venerable, an English monk, scholar, and historian of the 7th – 8th century.” That was found (as one quick example) at http://www.catholicyouthchoir.org/2000/program_notes.html
    Here is another example of listing Andrew Carter’s song as “adoration for Mary”: http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=2085
    Finally, here is a 3rd example: (check out the song immediately following Carter’s…) http://www.singers.com/choral/nationalcatholicyouth.html

    I am sure that the choir did not mean to offend anyone. I also realize that there are a wide range of believers/non-believers who attend the PCO (including Roman Catholics!) and therefore there are traditions that may come up (such as the baptism of babies) which I am not at all comfortable with. We even have Lutheran or Anglican influences which feel that homosexuality is “no big deal”.
    Having come from darkness (a Roman Catholic childhood), I am quite aware of the dangers of “Roman Catholic influences”. http://www.reachingcatholics.org/

    It was not my intention to offend anyone either, Paul. I just wanted to make it clear where I stand. I hope that I have done so adequately. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts, brother! Blessings to you and the family as you continue serving the LORD here in Oman

  3. Andy,

    You have made have now made it clear where you stand. What remains is that your Blog besmirches the good name of the Choir based on an incorrect assertion. If it is possible I ask that you re-read what you have written and correct it. How can we hope to maintain a happy an well recruited choir if we are wrongly accused of being blasphemous?

  4. Paul,
    I have corrected the post in regards to the song selection. Sorry if this has caused you undue frustration. I appreciate the fact that you wrote me directly to let me know my error! Please forgive me for jumping to conclusions. (Something I need to work on!) The sad thing is that I was just reading about this concept in Deuteronomy and still slipped up. “…And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and INQUIRED DILIGENTLY, and behold, it be true, and the thing CERTAIN…” (Deut. 17:4) Obviously I need to be more careful about such assertions or otherwise I will end up breaking the 9th commandment of “bearing false witness against thy neighbor”. My deepest apologies to you and the entire choir/school. May God continue to bless you, the choir and your respective families!

  5. Andy,

    Thank you. God bless you and your wife, Happy Anniversary!


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