Advent Antiphons–December 23

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

23 December – O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

–cf Isaiah 7.14

Advent Antiphons–December 22

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

22 December – O Rex Gentium

O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

–cf Isaiah 28.16; Ephesians 2.14

Advent Antiphons–December 21

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

21 December – O Oriens

O Morning Star, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

–cf Malachi 4.2

 

Advent Antiphons–December 20

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

20 December – O Clavis David

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

–cf Isaiah 22.22; 42.7

Advent Antiphons–December 19

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

19 December – O  Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

–cf Isaiah 11.10; 45.14; 52.15; Romans 15.12 

Advent Antiphons–December 18

From The Book of Common Worship’s Times and Seasons (p.58).

These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning ‘O …’, were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. In the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral that was widely followed in England before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; this is reflected in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer, where 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). The Common Worship Calendar has adopted the more widely used form. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

18 December – O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

–cf Exodus 3.2; 24.12

A Prayer for All Saints Day (2)

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
ruler and judge of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of this age that is passing away
may the light of your presence which the saints enjoy
surround our steps as we journey on.
May we reflect your glory this day
and so be made ready to see your face
in the heavenly city where night shall be no more.
Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever. Amen.

A Prayer for All Saints Day (1)

Almighty God,
you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Augustine on the Saints of God

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With humans this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”— Matthew 19.25-26

The saints are those who are moved by God’s grace to do whatever good they do. Some are married and have intercourse with their spouse sometimes for the sake of having a child and sometimes just for the pleasure of it. They get angry and desire revenge when they are injured, but are ready to forgive when asked. They are very attached to their property but will freely give at least a modest amount to the poor. They will not steal from you but are quick to take you to court if you try to steal from them. They are realistic enough to know that God should get the main credit for the good that they do. They are humble enough to admit that they are the sources of their own evil acts. In this life God loves them for their good acts and gives forgiveness for their evil, and in the next life they will join the ranks of those who will reign with Christ forever.

–Augustine of Hippo, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 3.5.14

One of the reasons I love Augustine is that he was never afraid to be real. As we read his description of the saints, we cannot help but wonder how these folks can be enjoying their rest with their Lord. I mean, look at their flaws Augustine is pointing out!

Here’s the answer. They have died with Christ and so are raised with him (Romans 6.8) They were buried with Christ in the waters of baptism so that they might rise with him in his resurrection (Romans 6.3-5). And when they were alive, their lives were hidden with Christ (Colossians 3.3-4).

For you see, it is not about the saints or our worthiness. None of us is worthy to stand before God in God’s perfect holiness! Rather, it is about what God has done for us in Jesus so that through his death we might enjoy real peace and reconciliation with God (Romans 5.111). In Jesus, God condemned sin in the flesh so that we might be equipped to live with God forever, both here on earth in the power of the Spirit and in God’s promised new creation (Romans 8.3-418-25). This is what Jesus reminds us in the passage above from Matthew and that’s why we have hope for the Christian dead and ourselves on All Saints Day. Jesus is Lord, even over death!

Is this your hope or are you clinging to something less which is bound to fail? On this All Saints Day may God grant you the grace, wisdom, and courage to embrace the hope offered to you in Jesus. Come celebrate our victory over death in Christ this Sunday as we celebrate the communion of saints!

From the Pen of Lancelot Andrewes

I have selected two short excerpts from his Personal Devotions. The first is an excerpt from an intercessory prayer he wrote and the second is an excerpt from evening prayers. Don’t get hung up on the historical situations of the intercessory prayer. Instead, look for the intent behind the language and use them to pray, for example, for folks in the finance industry or IT industries. Enjoy and be edified by them.

Intercessions

Grant to our population to be subject unto the higher powers,
not only for wrath, but also for conscience-sake.
Grant to farmers and graziers good seasons;
to the fleet and fishers fair weather;
to tradesmen, not to overreach one another;
to mechanics, to pursue their business lawfully,
down to the meanest workman,
down to the poor.
O God, not of us only but of our seed,
bless our children among us,
to advance in wisdom as in stature,
and in favor with thee and with humans.

I commend to thee, O Lord,
my soul, and my body,
my mind, and my thoughts,
my prayers, and my vows,
my senses, and my limbs,
my words, and my works,
my life, and my death;
my brothers, and my sisters,
and all their children;
my friends, my benefactors, my well wishers,
those who have a claim on me;
my kindred, and my neighbors,
my country, and all Christendom.
I commend to thee, Lord,
my impulses, and my startings,
my intentions, and my attempts,
my going out, and my coming in,
my sitting down, and my rising up.

Devotions

An Evening Prayer

The day is gone, and I give thee thanks, O Lord.
Evening is at hand, make it bright unto us.
As day has its evening so also has life;
the even of life is age,
age has overtaken me, make it bright unto us.
Cast me not away in time of age;
forsake me not when my strength fails me.
Abide with me, Lord,
for it is toward evening,
and the day is far spent of this fretful life.
Let your strength be made perfect in my weakness.

Devotions

More From Lancelot Andrewes

Here is another excerpt from Lancelot Andrewes’ major work, Private Devotions. Enjoy and meditate on his writing below.

A Profession of Faith

Godhead, paternal love, power,
providence:
salvation, anointing, adoption,
lordship;
conception, birth, passion,
cross, death, burial,
descent, resurrection, ascent,
sitting, return, judgment;
Breath and Holiness,
calling from the Universal,
hallowing in the Universal,
communion of saints, and of saintly things,
resurrection,
life eternal.

Devotions

Lancelot Andrewes

In celebration of Lancelot Andrewes’ feast day today, I quote from Richard Schmidt’s book, Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican Spirituality.

Andrewes’  life, theology, sermons, and devotions all reveal balance, order, and planning. Andrewes was catholic. He believed in “One canon [the Bible] reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of fathers in that period–the centuries, that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.” That has been the norm for Anglican theologizing ever since. Andrewes’ chief legacy, however, is his Private Devotions. The heart of the Devotions [from which all excerpts will come this week] is a set of seven exercises, one for each day of the week. The themes follow the six days of Creation. All seven daily devotions are structured identically, with six sections…These are, clearly, the prayers of a man who prayed regularly and methodically. pp.36-37

I find in Andrewes writing a sense of beauty and wonder toward God, and a deep spirituality and humility. I hope you will find his writings to be likewise and edifying for you.

Teach me to do the thing that pleases thee, for you are my God;Let your loving Spirit lead me into the land of righteousness. Quicken me, O Lord, for your name’s sake, and for your righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble; remove from me foolish imaginations, inspire those which are good and pleasing in your sight. Turn away my eyes lest they behold vanity; let my eyes look right on, and let my eyelids look straight before me. Hedge up my ears with thorns lest they incline to undisciplined words. Give me early the ear to hear, and open my ears to the instruction of your oracles. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips. Let my word be seasoned with salt, that it may minister grace to the hearers.

Devotions