[PIPE ORGAN PLAYING] [MUSIC - "VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL"]
CHOIR: [SINGING IN LATIN]
OLIVER GOODRICH: Good evening and welcome. My name is Oliver Goodrich, and I serve as the Associate Dean of Students for Spirituality and Meaning Making and Director of Cornell United Religious Work. And on behalf of the Division of Student and Campus Life and the Department of Music, I want to welcome you all to our annual Lessons and Carols service.
Before we begin, I want to invite you to take just a moment to silence your cell phones or anything that would make some noise. Tonight's performance is being recorded and live-streamed and we want to not interrupt the sound. And a special welcome to those who are joining us via live stream.
I want to begin by acknowledging the Indigenous peoples of the land that we're on today. Cornell University is located on the traditional Homeland of the Gayogohono, the Cayuga Nation. The Gayogohono are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell, of New York State, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogohono dispossession, and we honor the ongoing connection of the Gayogohono people, past and present, to these lands and waters. This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogohono leadership.
And now a word about our program this evening. We're so glad to see so many of you here tonight, especially as it's been so long since Sage Chapel resounded with sacred music. Just as the pandemic has interrupted so many of our traditions and routines, so too has this annual tradition been interrupted. Sage Chapel closed on March 13, 2020. It did not reopen until September of this year. And since that time, there has been no public singing in this historic sanctuary.
Last year's event was held entirely online. However, this year, in order to allow this traditional event to proceed in person, we've worked with Cornell's Office of Environmental Health and Safety to reduce some of the risks that are associated with choral singing in person. So all of our singers tonight have had a recent negative COVID test, and they'll be wearing masks throughout the event. Now, out of an abundance of caution, congregational singing will not be a part of this year's event. We thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. And for those of you who may be longing to have some choral singing, we'll have an opportunity, following the event, out on Hope Plaza we'll have a carol sing. There'll be some handouts that you can grab on your way out of the building, and we invite you to join us for a few minutes of singing at the conclusion of the service.
One final brief word of introduction-- we gather this evening as people who represent many different ethical commitments, philosophical worldviews, and religious traditions. And while this service is Christian in nature and celebrates the season of advent and Christmas, all of you are welcome here regardless of your tradition. Many of our religious and wisdom traditions have rituals that celebrate the shining of light in the midst of darkness. Just a few weeks ago, Hindus celebrated Diwali, our Jewish neighbors just are finishing Hanukkah as we speak, and in a few weeks we'll mark the Winter Solstice, and many in the African diaspora will begin lighting the kinara to mark the start of Kwanzaa.
It's our hope that this evening's service will invite all of us to notice places where we see light shining in the darkness of this season and to also kindle a light of hope within us as we await a future that shines with the brightness of peace on Earth and goodwill among all people.
SPEAKER 1: A reading from the book of Genesis. "The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees and the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?' He said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.'
He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?' The man said, 'The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.' Then the Lord said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent tricked me, and I ate.'
The Lord God said to the serpent-- 'Because you have done this cursed you are among all animals and among all wild creatures. Upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, and you will strike at his heel.'
And the man, he said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. You are dust and to dust you shall return.' Here ends the reading.
[MUSIC - "ADAM LAY YBOUNDEN"]
CHOIR: (SINGING) Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond-- four thousand winter, thought he not too long. And all was for an apple, an apple that her took. As clerkes finden written in their book. Ne had the apple taken been, the apple taken been, ne had never Our Lady a-been beaven's queen. Blessed be the time that apple taken was. Therefore we may singen deo gratias!
SPEAKER 2: The second reading comes from Isaiah 40 verses 1 through 8. A reading from the prophet Isaiah-- " 'Comfort, O comfort my people,' says your God. 'Speak tenderly to Jerusalem-- and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.' A voice cries out, 'In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our Lord our God.'
Every Valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low. The uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plane. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
A voice cries, 'Cry out!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our Lord will stand forever." Here ends the second reading.
[MUSIC - "DROP DOWN, YE HEAVENS FROM ABOVE"]
CHOIR: (SINGING) Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. My salvation shall not tarry. I have blotted out as a thick cloud they transgressions-- fear not, for I will save thee-- for I am the Lord the God, the Hold One of Israel, thy Redeemer. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.
SPEAKER 3: The third reading is coming from Isaiah, 40th chapter, the 21st through the 23rd verse, and the 28th through the 31st first. "Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the Earth, it is he who sits above the circle of the Earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and it spreads them like a tent to live in. Who brings peace to not and makes the rulers of the Earth as nothing.
Have you not heard? Have you not known? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. He does not faint or grow weary.
His understanding is unsearchable, he gives power to the faint, and he strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted. But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not be faint." Here ends the reading.
[MUSIC - "A SPOTLESS ROSE IS BLOWING"]
CHOIR: (SINGING) A spotless rose is blowing, spring from a tender root. Of ancient seers' foreshowing of Jesse promised fruit. It's fairest bud unfolds to light amid the cold, cold winter night and in the dark midnight.
The Rose which I am singing, whereof Isaiah said, is from it's sweet root springing in Mary, purest maid-- for through our God's great love and might, the blessed babe she bare us in a cold, cold winter's night.
The Rose which I am singing, whereof Isaiah said, is from a sweet root springing in Mary, purest maid-- for through our God's great love and might, the blessed babe she bare us in a cold, cold winter's night.
SPEAKER 4: A reading from the Gospel of Luke. "In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph of the House of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, Favored One, the Lord is with you.' But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the House of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'
And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed-- for the mighty one has done great things for me and Holy is his name. His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich empty away. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants, forever.' This is the word of the Lord.
CHOIR: [NON-ENGLISH SINGING]
SPEAKER 5: A reading from the Gospel of Luke. "In those days, a decree went out from emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration, and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David, called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." This is the word of the Lord.
[MUSIC - MITCHELL SOUTHALL, "IN SILENT NIGHT"]
CHOIR: (SINGING) In silent night, when all is calm and all is bright. In silent night, O holy night, the baby from heaven is born on this night. The child, innocent child, is born.
In silent night, as darkness flies and all is light. In silent night, O holy night, the baby in radiance lay sleep on this night. Not The child, the holy child, is born.
In silent night, this son of God and son of man shall one day cry, and later die upon a cross for you and me. The child, the prince of peace, is born. The prince of peace is born.
SPEAKER 6: A reading from the Gospel of Luke. "In that region, there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign for you-- you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.' And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on Earth peace among those whom he favors.' When the Angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place which the Lord has made known to us.' So they went with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger." This is the word of the Lord.
[MUSIC - PRAETORIUS, "ES IST EIN ROS ENTSPRUNGEN"]
CHOIR: [SINGING IN GERMAN]
Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the rose I have in mind-- with Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
[SINGING IN GERMAN]
Oh flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, dispel with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere. True man, yet very God. From sin and death God save us and share our every load.
SPEAKER 7: A reading from the Gospel of Matthew.
SPEAKER 8: In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking, 'Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews, for we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.' When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him. And calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet.
SPEAKER 7: And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah-- for from you shall come a ruler who is the shepherd of my people Israel.
SPEAKER 8: Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child. And when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.' When they had heard the King, they set out, and there ahead of them went the star that they had seen at its rising, until they stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
SPEAKER 7: This is the word of the Lord.
CHOIR: [NON ENGLISH SINGING]
SPEAKER 9: A reading from the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was, in the beginning, with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John he came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him. Yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us. And we have seen his glory-- the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth." This is the word of the Lord.
CHOIR: [NON-ENGLISH SINGING]
SPEAKER 10: If in winter night lengthens, so too does knowledge of light. Bodies pivot inward, alive to the shelter of roofs, lit rooms, walls, that shield from wind. Also within, a warm, low light that holds the hope of more light. May this humble inward longing interior candle warding off cold be as a beacon to our, neighbors and may all who walk in darkness yield their lonesome shadows to a great and rising sun. Amen.
[MUSIC - "IN DULCI JUBILO"]
CHOIR: (SINGING) In dulci jublio, let us our homage show! Out heart's joy reclineth in praesepio-- and like a bright start shineth matris in gremio. Alpha es et O! Alpha es et O!
O Jesu parvule, I yearn for thee alway! Hear me, I beseech thee, O puer optime-- my prayer, let it reach thee, O princeps gloriae. Trahe me post te, trahe me post te.
O patris caritas! O nati lenitas! Deeply we were stained, per nostra crimina-- But thou for us has gained, coelorum gaudioa. O that we were there, O that we were there.
[ENGLISH AND LATIN SINGING]
O that we were there, O that we were there.
O that we were there. O that we were there.
[PIPE ORGAN PLAYING]
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Cornell University Lessons and Carols sung by the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club, interspersed with traditional readings by members of the Cornell community, with conductor Sarah Bowe and organist Anna Steppler. Co-sponsored by the Department of Music and the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making and Cornell United Religious Work.