NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 12/21

A little background...
Christmas is just few days away! At this time of year in the prayer of the church, there are special introductory verses sung at Evening Prayer, each naming a particular "title" of the Lord whose coming again we await, each verse beginning with "O...." We are familiar with these special verses because they constitute the lyrics of the 7 verses of the well known Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!"   (More info here!)
Night Prayer will take its lead from these "O antiphons," the fifth of which is "O Rising Sun." Note that we pray this antiphon every year on the winter solstice.  On the shortest day of the year we  name, we celebrate Christ as "Oriens" which means dawn, sunrise, break of day, the beginning, rising up!
Rise like the dawn, Lord:
let your sun's rays
thaw my frosted heart 
that you might melt and heal
what sadness my soul bears...

Disperse the gloomy clouds of
all my anxious fears
and sweep from my heart's depths
whatever keeps me from your peace...

Draw me out of darkness to the light,
the grace, your presence brings:
let me know the peace you offer,
the light in which I'm bathed...

In these cold and dark December days
and in all the seasons of my soul,
draw near, O Jesus, come
and shine your light upon my path...

O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Protect me as I lie awake,
keep vigil while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch for you
and asleep, rest in your peace...


(Tonight's song is a very old hymn. In Greek, it's the Phos Hilaron,* an ode to Christ, our Light in the darkness, the Light no darkness can extinguish.  This hymn, one of my top ten pieces of liturgical music, has been prayed by Christians at evening prayer since the late third century...)

O Radiant Light performed by OCP Session Choir

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O radiant Light, O Sun divine  
Of God the Father's deathless face,  
O image of the light sublime  
That fills the heav'nly dwelling place.  

O Son of God, the source of life,  
Praise is your due by night and day.  
Our happy lips must raise the strain 
 Of your esteemed and splendid name.  

Lord Jesus Christ, as daylight fades,  
As shine the lights of eventide,  
We praise the Father with the Son,  
The Spirit blest, and with them one.

* translated: O gladdening light, O gladsome light, O joyful light...




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