Monday, December 28, 2009

Who hast all created

Dost thou in a manger lie?

Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494; trans. Elizabeth Charles, 1858
Tune: Mauburn

Dost thou in a manger lie,
who hast all created,
stretching infant hands on high,
Savior, long awaited?
If a monarch, where thy state?
Where thy court on thee to wait?
Royal purple, where?
Here no regal pomp we see,
nought but need and penury:
why thus cradled here?

"Pitying love for fallen man
brought me down thus low;
for a race deep lost in sin
came I into woe.
By this lowly birth of mine,
sinner, riches shall be thine,
matchless gifts and free;
willingly this yoke I take,
and this sacrifice I make,
heaping joys for thee."

Fervent praise would I do to thee
evermore be raising;
for thy wondrous love to me
thee be ever praising.
Glory, glory be for ever
unto that most bounteous Giver,
and that loving Lord!
Better witness to thy worth,
purer praise than ours on earth,
angels' songs afford.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Jefferson on the current state of affairs

Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

An eve of light: holy night

Merry Christmas to each of you, as you carry your burdens and pray your prayers, and trust, even as you walk through the darkness... light dawns for you! Alleluia!

Be blessed this night, this holy day!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amaze us with promises

A prayer for the fourth week of advent

Oremus, Dec. 22

The world is waiting restlessly for you, Lord, to come.
Reward us who wait for you
with surprises we cannot anticipate.
As Mary was astounded by Gabriel's announcement,
so also amaze us with promises beyond our comprehension,
even with responsibilities we fear to accept.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Speak the word to us
that the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon us
that we may fulfill all you have called us to be.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

In these final hours of waiting,
prepare us to plumb the depths
of your incarnation's mystery.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Enable us to bear the fruits of repentance,
lest the outward celebrations of Christmas
not be enacted with the inward reality of faith each day.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Inhabit us continually with your Living Word,
as for centuries you have filled your people with transforming love.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

So satisfy the cravings of the human heart,
that, having seen the great things come to pass,
your people may glorify you and give you praise.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

God of grace,
your eternal Word took flesh among us
when Mary placed her life at the service of your will:
Prepare our hearts for his coming again;
keep us steadfast in hope and faithful in service,
that we may receive the coming of his kingdom,
for the sake of Jesus Christ the ruler of all,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Behold: All the gates of heaven unfold!

Gabriel's message does away

Words: Piae cantiones, 1582; trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)
Tune: Angelus emittitur

Gabriel's message does away
Satan's curse and Satan's sway,
out of darkness brings our Day:

So, behold,
All the gates of heaven unfold.

He that comes despised shall reign;
he that cannot die, be slain;
death by death its death shall gain:

So, behold,
All the gates of heaven unfold.

Weakness shall the strong confound;
by the hands, in grave clothes wound,
Adam's chains shall be unbound.

So, behold,
All the gates of heaven unfold.

By the sword that was His own,
by that sword, and that alone,
shall Goliath be o'erthrown:

So, behold,
All the gates of heaven unfold.

Art by art shall be assailed;
to the cross shall Life be nailed;
from the grave shall hope be hailed:

So, behold,
All the gates of heaven unfold!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Though I unworthy be

My spirit longs for thee

Words: John Byrom (@1692-1763)
Tune: Amen Court

My spirit longs for thee
within my troubled breast,
though I unworthy be
of so divine a guest.

Of so divine a guest
unworthy though I be,
yet has my heart no rest
unless it come from thee.

Unless it come from thee,
in vain I look around;
in all that I can see
no rest is to be found.

No rest is to be found
but in thy bless├Ęd love:
O let my wish be crowned,
and send it from above!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Come, and by Thy love's revealing

Light of those whose dreary dwelling

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Pleading Savior

Light of those whose dreary dwelling
Borders on the shades of death,
Come, and by Thy love's revealing
Dissipate the clouds beneath;
The new heaven and earth's Creator,
In our deepest darkness rise,
Scattering all the night of nature,
Pouring eyesight on our eyes.

Still we wait for Thine appearing;
Life and joy Thy beams impart,
Chasing all our fears, and cheering
Every poor benighted heart:
Come, and manifest the favor
God hath for our ransomed race;
Come, Thou universal Savior,
Come, and bring the gospel grace.

Save us in Thy great compassion,
O Thou kind, pacific Prince;
Give the knowledge of salvation,
Give the pardon of our sins:
By Thy all-restoring merit
Every burdened soul release;
Every weary, wandering spirit
Guide into Thy perfect peace.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

When oceans vast their depths reveal

When oceans vast their depths reveal

Words: Morgan Rhys (1716-1779) translated by Edward M Powell (1852-1928)
Tune: Wiltshire

When oceans vast their depths reveal
And moons have ceased to wane,
The Lamb who died and rose again,
On Zion's hill shall reign.

His glorious Name must long endure
When suns have ceased to shine,
And through eternity the saints
Will sing His praise divine.

As countless as the drops of dew,
Or sand upon the shore,
Are blessings which the ransomed have
In Him for evermore.

Let every other name recede,
His Name alone extol;
In Him reserved, there is the grace
To satisfy my soul.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bethlehem: The place where God’s love broke in

Where love breaks in

This is what happens when God’s power breaks in: darkness is cast out. The power of evil spirits is broken and driven away. The Holy Spirit creates a pure atmosphere, one of unity and of peace.

The little stable in Bethlehem was a place where God’s love broke in. While on earth, Jesus expected God’s kingdom to break in. His expectation was that light must break in upon this darkened earth. He saw that death had heaped up a barrier so that light could not come into life on earth. Therefore he sacrificed his life so that in the area of death an opening might be made; so that there might be a rift in the layer of gloomy fog around the earth – an opening through which the light of God could come in. If a house has even only one window where the sun shines in, it can no longer be dark inside the house.

If Jesus opens a breach in death then God’s kingdom comes down to this earth. This was the faith that the early Christian church had when they waited for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They were determined to wait until the flame of the Spirit, like the star over Bethlehem, should come down at this one place. And this did happen; it came.

From the place where a stream enters, it pours out into the entire world. Where love breaks in, all other forces yield. Jesus was victorious on the cross, not by a greater force, but by a greater power – the power of love – in comparison with which all force is nothing. No human force is able to achieve anything in comparison to the power of love.

The birth of Jesus is the in-breaking of the power of love.

Eberhard Arnold

Thursday, December 03, 2009

His is the radiance of thy dawn

Begin the day with God

Words: Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
Tune: Dominica

Begin the day with God:
He is the rising Sun,
His is the radiance of thy dawn,
His the fresh day begun.

Sing a new song at morn;
Join the glad woods and hills;
Join the fresh winds and seas and plains;
Join the bright flowers and rills.

Awake, cold lips, and sing;
Arise, dull heart, and pray;
Lift up, O man, thy heart and eyes;
Brush slothfulness away.

Cast every weight aside;
Do battle with each sin;
Fight with the faithless world without,
The faithless heart within.

Look up beyond these clouds,
Thither thy pathway lies;
Mount up, away, and linger not,
Thy goal is yonder skies!