O Sacred Lord

Today’s readings

I love these late days of Advent. The expectation of the Savior is heightening, the time of deliverance is at hand, the Lord is near. During these days, we pray the “O Antiphons:” the call for Christ to come and visit us under his many titles. Yesterday was “O Sapientia” or “O Wisdom.” Today is “O Adonai” or “O Sacred Lord.” The antiphon for Vespers this evening prays: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” We pray for the Lord of our salvation to come quickly and not delay.

This was the message Joseph received in his dream. No, the child to be born was not a random child born out of wedlock. He was instead the hope of the nations, the Lord of Lords, the one who would save his people from their sins. Just as Isaiah foretold one who would be called “the LORD our justice,” so Joseph would name his child Jesus, a name which means “the LORD is salvation.” We await the coming of our Savior who is our salvation, our justice, our hope of eternal life. He was long desired of every nation, and he is needed in our hearts today.

It was necessary for Joseph to set aside his plans for his life so that salvation could come to all the world.  His decision to dismiss Mary quietly was a just one, considering he could have exposed her to shame.  But even that just decision was not God’s will.  Joseph went to God in the stillness of his heart, and was open to his angel’s message in a dream.  Openness to God’s plans is necessary for all of us if we would be one with the Lord.

And so we pray, come O Sacred Lord, do not delay. Fill our hearts with your presence and come to us with your great salvation. Free us from our slavery to sin, open our hearts to your will for us, and bring us into your presence. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly and do not delay!

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent: O Sacred Lord

Today’s readings

I love these late days of Advent. The expectation of the Savior is heightening, the time of deliverance is at hand, the Lord is near. During these days, we sing the “O Antiphons:” the call for Christ to come and visit us under his many titles. Yesterday was “O Sapientia” or “O Wisdom.” Today is “O Adonai” or “O Sacred Lord.” The antiphon for Vespers this evening prays: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” We pray for the Lord of our salvation to come quickly and not delay.

This was the message Joseph received in his dream. No, the child to be born was not a random child born out of wedlock. He was instead the hope of the nations, the Lord of Lords, the one who would save his people from their sins. Just as Isaiah foretold one who would be called “the LORD our justice,” so Joseph would name his child Jesus, a name which means “the LORD is salvation.” We await the coming of our Savior who is our salvation, our justice, our hope of eternal life. He was long desired of every nation, and he is needed in our hearts today.

It was necessary for Joseph to set aside his plans for his life so that salvation could come to all the world.  His decision to dismiss Mary quietly was a just one, considering he could have exposed her to shame.  But even that just decision was not God’s will.  Joseph went to God in the stillness of his heart, and was open to his angel’s message in a dream.  Openness to God’s plans is necessary for all of us if we would be one with the Lord.

And so we pray, come O Sacred Lord, do not delay. Fill our hearts with your presence and come to us with your great salvation. Free us from our slavery to sin, open our hearts to your will for us, and bring us into your presence. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly and do not delay!

The Fourth Sunday of Advent [B]: O Sacred Lord

Today’s readings

Hanging in the bedroom hallway of my Mom’s house is a framed graphic that says “With God, all things are possible.”  That reminder has helped me to get through a number of times of uncertainty in my life.  I thought about it as I was reading today’s Gospel, in which the angel, in response to Mary’s questions says, “For nothing will be impossible for God.”  Today’s Liturgy is all about the coming Christ, meek child as he appears to be, becoming the Lord of our lives.

In the first reading, David has what seems to be a laudable plan.  He has built a wonderful palace for himself, great king that he is, and he feels bad that the Ark of the Covenant still resides in the tent that it was in during the journey from Egypt.  That’s not right to him, so he tells the prophet Nathan of his plan to build a great temple.  Now, Nathan must have been having an off day, because although he initially tells David to go for it, he finds out in a dream that that is not God’s will at all.

Although David was a mighty king, and the one chosen by God at that, he has shed too much blood in the course of his work, and thus is unworthy to be the one to build the temple.  His son Solomon, whose name comes from the word “shalom” or “peace,” is the one to build a temple, and he will do so later on.  David himself hands this task on to Solomon later in the story.  Once again David has learned that God is Lord, and he is not.

Mary has an experience of that too.  She is visited by the angel Gabriel, and finds out that God has plans for her to be the mother of his only begotten Son.  I love the line that tells her reaction to the news: “But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.”  That could well be the understatement of the eons!  Thankfully, her faith makes her ready to accept God’s will even though she certainly does not completely understand it.  The angel gives her news that even her aged relative Elizabeth is with child in her old age “for nothing will be impossible for God.”

I think we all have a temptation to forget this important lesson.  We are not God; God is, and when we accept that in faith, our lives can be more peaceful.  Instead though, and I’ll be honest and tell you I am certainly speaking for myself, instead we tend to want to direct all the action and call all the shots.  We want control over our lives, and we want to see the big picture unfold the way we want it to unfold.  Unfortunately, life isn’t like that.  Things often go awry, or at least they go differently than we would have them.  And that’s the time that we really need to give in and let God be in charge, since he is anyway.

During these late days of Advent, our Church recounts the “O Antiphons.”  There is an “O Antiphon” for each day from December 17th through the 24th.  These antiphons are titles of Jesus, and they are sung each evening during Vespers, as the antiphon for the Canticle of Mary.  Today’s “O Antiphon” is “O Sacred Lord.”  In Vespers, the full antiphon goes like this:

O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

Each of these O Antiphons corresponds to a verse in the song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  So today’s verse is this one:

O Come, O Come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times didst give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

We wait for the coming of our Savior in these Advent days.  We know that his coming will eventually bring us salvation and peace, in God’s time.  We can have some of that peace, I think, when we let God be the Sacred Lord of our lives.  We can get a glimpse of the salvation that awaits us if we let God be God and remember that we are not God.

Today, our Sacred Lord can be the one who comes in power to give us salvation and peace.  Salvation and peace can be ours if we open our hearts to his presence among us.  Come, O Sacred Lord!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Friday of the Third Week of Advent: O Sacred Lord

Today’s readings

I love these late days of Advent. The expectation of the Savior is heightening, the time of deliverance is at hand, the Lord is near. During these days, we sing the “O Antiphons:” the call for Christ to come and visit us under his many titles. Yesterday was “O Sapientia” or “O Wisdom.” Today is “O Adonai” or “O Sacred Lord.” The antiphon for Vespers this evening prays: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” We pray for the Lord of our salvation to come quickly and not delay.

This was the message Joseph received in his dream. No, the child to be born was not a random child born out of wedlock. He was instead the hope of the nations, the Lord of Lords, the one who would save his people from their sins. Just as Isaiah foretold one who would be called “the LORD our justice,” so Joseph would name his child Jesus, a name which means “the LORD is salvation.” We await the coming of our Savior who is our salvation, our justice, our hope of eternal life. He was long desired of every nation, and he is needed in our hearts today.

It was necessary for Joseph to set aside his plans for his life so that salvation could come to all the world.  His decision to dismiss Mary quietly was a just one, considering he could have exposed her to shame.  But even that just decision was not God’s will.  Joseph went to God in the stillness of his heart, and was open to his angel’s message in a dream.  Openness to God’s plans is necessary for all of us if we would be one with the Lord.

And so we pray, come O Sacred Lord, do not delay. Fill our hearts with your presence and come to us with your great salvation. Free us from our slavery to sin, open our hearts to your will for us, and bring us into your presence. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly and do not delay!

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