Wednesday 21 December

O Oriens

O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. (cf Malachi 4.2)

Bob Chilcott. Advent Antiphons, no. 5. Queens' College Choir, Cambridge, cond. Silas Wollston.

by Luci Shaw

Framed in light,
Mary sings through the doorway.
Elizabeth's six-month joy
jumps, a palpable greeting,
a hidden first encounter
between son and Son.

And my heart turns over
when I meet Jesus
in you.

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life:
grant us to perfectly know your Son Jesus Christ
as the way, the truth and the life, and that,
caring for each other as Mary and Elizabeth cared
we may faithfully walk in the way that leads to eternal life.

The Visitation
Watanabe Sadao (Japan, 1913-96) The Visitation: Mary and Elizabeth. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Song of Songs 2:8-14

The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.

Psalm 33.17-21

17. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.

18. Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19. to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield.
21. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.

Luke 1:39-45

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

J. S. Bach. "Jesus bleibet meine Freude: from cantata: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147). Written for the Feast of the Visitation, 2 July 1723. Netherlands Bach Society, cond. Marcus Creed. 13 December 2018, Grote Kerk, Naarden.

Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
Meines Herzens Trost und Saft,
Jesus wehret allem Leide,
Er ist meines Lebens Kraft,
Meiner Augen Lust und Sonne,
Meiner Seele Schatz und Wonne;
Darum lass ich Jesum nicht
Aus dem Herzen und Gesicht.

Jesus remains my joy,
The consolation and sap of my heart;
Jesus bars all sorrow;
He is the protector of my life,
The desire and sun of my eyes,
The treasure and bliss of my soul;
Thus I will not let Jesus
Out of heart and sight.

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
Prepared by Dr Brian McKinlay