My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God : when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
So. A first blog post on the last day of the Christian year. Why start now? Well, I’ve been wanting to for a while now but just never got around to it. And today is the day to get ready for the new beginning tomorrow. The start of a new year for the church; the start of Advent; the season of longing and waiting before Christmas. I’m doing an online twitter Advent book read with some twitter pals, and by setting this up I now have somewhere where I hope to post my thoughts on those daily readings (well, at least some of them).
Finally, if you read that ‘about‘ page up top, you’ll have seen that I hope to post a little about music here too. Those of you who know me in real life may know of my love for the music of Herbert Howells, and have spotted that the title of this blog is shared with one of his most famous anthems, a setting of Psalm 42. Well, that’s no conincidence.
Why do I love this piece of music? I think it just happens to strike the right mood for the words, and Psalm 42 is one of my favourite psalms anyway. Life isn’t always as easy as it might be for any of us these days – and at times I think “if there were a God, why does he let people suffer this way?” Society as a whole is becoming more secular – the strident challenge of the second part of verse 3 “where is now thy God?” is accompanied by strident chords at 2m20s in this anthem. Even then, the harmonies just wash over you. And by the end, the music has returned to its opening, hopeful peace – challenge is calmed; peace restored; and our souls are left to long for God.
And so, to Advent. Maranatha.