GRASS VALLEY, Calif. December 12, 2012 - Midweek mini-concerts this month offer a respite from the holiday rush and a chance to reconnect to the true meaning of Christmas, said the Rev. Richard Johnson of Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.
Each half-hour concert of seasonal music will be followed by a half-hour of prayer and meditation. They start at 4:45 p.m. every Wednesday through Dec. 19 at the church at 828 W. Main St., near downtown.
Each concert will feature organist Paul Perry playing sacred music that links modern listeners with spiritual seekers across the centuries. Perry is the founder and former artistic director of Nevada City-based Music in the Mountains.
Mini-concerts are on:
Dec. 12: Music includes Nevada City violinist Ann Gaines. Prayer focus is Mary's "Magnificat."
Dec. 19: Music includes singing by Foothill Children's Chorus. Prayer focus is Simeon's "Nunc dimitis."
"These midweek services are our offering to the community," Johnson said. "There is no charge, and no offering will be taken."
The concerts mark the season of Advent. Since the fifth century A.D. starting in what is now France, the four weeks before Christmas have been set aside for prayer and reflection, said Johnson, who has a doctoral degree in church history. Advent – from the Latin for "coming into being" – is the season in many Christian churches when people prepare for the coming of the Christ child.
The tradition of evening prayers called vespers – from the Latin word for "evening" – goes back to the Jewish practice of praying at the start and end of the day, Johnson added.
In addition to the midweek vespers concerts, Peace will observe Advent during traditional Sunday worship services at 8 and 11 a.m.; they include Perry's organ music and singing by the Peace Choir. A more casual service blending traditional format and modern music and language is offered at 9:30 a.m.
Other services of the season at Peace Lutheran include:
Children's Christmas program, 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Lessons and Carols, 4 p.m. Christmas Eve (Dec. 24)
Holy Communion, 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) – a more casual service
Festival Holy Communion, 10:45 p.m. Christmas Eve (Dec. 24)
Epiphany, 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 6
For more information about Peace Lutheran Church or to contact Johnson, visit www.PeaceLutheranGV.org or call (530) 273-9631.
Grass Valley resident and freelance writer Trina Kleist can be reached at email@example.com or (530) 575-6132.
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