The mountains and hill are brought low, and the rough places are made a plain for the coming of our God.
New Jerusalem, by Tania Runyan
Bask in the jasper.
Hear the gate-squeak of pearl on gold.
Alpha, Omega: it makes no difference.
The heavenly city of God has come down.
He makes his dwelling place
in the muddy corner of your garage,
the oncologist’s office,
the space between paper and pen.
Run your fingers along the foundation walls
studded with onyx and topaz.
Pain and tears will pass away,
but for now he bedazzles
your blisters and tissue,
saline and nerve,
somehow—do you believe it?—
the neck of a kneeling man
about to lose his head to the sand.
He prays for water, just one last
drink. The sword lifts,
then springs bubble up in the dark.
— What Will Soon Take Place (Paraclete Press 2018)
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples;
the nations shall inquire of him,
and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
The tree of Jesse, C12th stained glass in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
In this season of Advent, dear God, for the sake of new life, let me look ahead with courage and love. Let me act not from fear, but from faith. Out of my impatient nature, may I do nothing to rush this birth, but give it time for wholeness. Grant me the patience to wait. — In The Courtyard
The Psalm for St Andrew's Day, Psalm 19.1-6, in the words of the Scottish Psalter, 1650.
The heav'ns God's glory do declare,
the skies his hand-works preach:
Day utters speech to day, and night
to night doth knowledge teach.
There is no speech nor tongue to which
their voice doth not extend:
Their line is gone through all the earth,
their words to the world's end.
In them he set the sun a tent;
Who, bridegroom-like, forth goes
From's chamber, as a strong man doth
to run his race rejoice.
From heav'n's end is his going forth,
circling to th' end again;
And there is nothing from his heat
that hidden doth remain.
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.