Antiphon: Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
William Blake. Mercy and Truth are Met Together,
Righteousness and Peace Have Kissed Each Other (c. 1803).
Victoria and Albert Museum.
"The Husbandry of God"
from Three Poems on the Incarnation
by Elton Higgs.
How can I contain this word from the Lord?
His light has pierced my being
And sown in single seed
Both glory and shame.
Content was I
To wed in lowliness
And live in obscurity,
With purity my only dower.
Now, ravished with power,
I flout the conventions of man
To incubate God.
In lowliness how shall I bear it?
In modesty how shall I tell it?
What now shall I become?
But the fruit of God's planting
Is His to harvest.
No gleaner I, like Ruth,
But the field itself,
In whom my Lord lies hid.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
8. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9. Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, ‘Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven you", or to say, "Stand up and walk"? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the one who was paralysed—‘I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.’ Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’
Most holy God,
when we come to you fearing that
truth condemns us,
show us that truth is one with love
in your Word made flesh,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov "Our Father"
St Petersburg Chamber Choir, dir. Nikolai Korniev.
St Catherine’s Lutheran Church, St Petersburg