Second Sunday of Advent

December 10 • 9:30 am, Kirkland Chapel • 11:00 am, Sanctuary

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, preaching

Sermon: "O Key of David"

Text: Isaiah 22:20-22, Isaiah 42:5-7, Isaiah 61:1-4

On that day I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and will clothe him with your robe and bind your sash on him. I will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.


Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland (“Savior of the Nations, Come”), BWV 659 – J. S. Bach (1685–1750)

In the Bleak Midwinter • Harold Darke (1888–1976)
Text: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)

Veiled in Darkness • Glenn Rudolph (b. 1951) 

O Thou the Central Orb • Charles Wood (1866–1926)
Text: H. R. Bramley (1833–1917)

Worship Notes

The Anthem this morning is by Charles Wood, a great Victorian composer of Irish descent. In 1883, Wood was a student in the inaugural class of the newly instituted Royal College of Music in London. He studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, widely considered to be the great-grandfathers of the modern English choral tradition. Wood went on to teach composition himself at the RCM and at Cambridge University, and he counted Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells among his pupils. Although Wood served as the director of music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, he spent much of his early career writing larger-scale works for stage and orchestra. It was not until later in life that Wood turned to the composition of church music. O Thou the Central Orb is a wonderful example of Wood’s work in this style, featuring masterful choral writing above a stirring and expressive organ accompaniment. The final “Amen,” following a brief organ interlude, is enormously powerful in its simplicity, a testament to Wood’s outstanding sensitivity to text and musical form. 

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