Tuesday, 20 December 2011

O Clavis David

Samuel anointing David
The antiphon for today is:
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
which is in English:
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.
It draws on:

"I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22

"His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7

"To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." Isaiah 42:7.

Again the promise of liberation and freedom.   This paraphrase from (By A.C.A. Hall, Bishop of Vermont. A.R. Mowbray & Co., n.d. but c. 1914) gives food for reflection:

O Lord Jesu Christ, to Whom is given the throne and sceptre of David Thy father over the house of Israel,
that Thou mighest extend his kingdom over all peoples:
Thou didst come in our nature, as the Son of man forgiving sins, dispelling sickness and loosing bonds:
to Thee now is committed all authority in heaven and on earth,
and the powers of hell cannot withstand Thy word:
Come, we pray Thee, by Thy grace, 
and through the instrumentality of Thy Church,
to loosen the prisoner from the chains of sin,
to enlighten with the glad tidings of Thy word all who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
that they may rejoice in the deliverance which Thou hast wrought.

It elliptically touches on the "political" impact of the Incarnation. But today, inspired by the likes of Archbishops Desmond Tutu and Trevor Huddleston, we are more likely to be pointed in our Christian critique of political policies.  and rightly so.  Perhaps it's a day to pray that the shadow of the Stalinist prison house will begin to shorten in North Korea?

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