Tuesday 5 December 2023

The Tree of Jesse

The Tree of Jesse, 12th century.The Tree of Jesse, 12th century. Stained glass window (Bay 49), Chartres Cathedral, France.

"A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1

In his time shall righteousness flourish: and abundance of peace. (Ps. 72.7)

Isaiah 11:1-10

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.

Psalm 72.1-7

1 Give the king your judgement, O God:
   and your righteousness to the son of a king,
2 That he may judge your people rightly:
   and the poor of the land with equity.
3 Let the mountains be laden with peace because of his righteousness:
   and the hills also with prosperity for his people.
4 May he give justice to the poor among the people:
   and rescue the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor.
5 May he live while the sun endures:
   and while the moon gives light, throughout all generations.
6 May he come down like rain upon the new-mown fields:
   and as showers that water the earth.
7 In his time shall righteousness flourish:
   and abundance of peace, till the moon shall be no more.

Luke 10:21-24

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.’

A Villanelle for Advent, by Catherine Brown Tkacz

Silent bird upon the water, nest
Far distant and companions gone, confide
All longing to this waiting time, and rest.
Wide-winged in flight, you bent down from the West,
From grey sky to grey lakeswell, now to bide,
Silent. Bird upon the water, nest
Upon the voiceless shallow wave; lest
Too weary, starved, you die, having denied
All longing in this waiting time, and rest.
So gently lay upon the lake your breast
And couch your weary wings along your side,
Silent bird upon the water. Nest
You have no more, for at the soul's behest
You came here; now teach your heart to guide
All longing to this waiting time, and rest.
When the Word and song are born, you will be blest,
With the star's sheen upon the wave to glide.
Silent bird upon the water, nest
All longing in this waiting time, and rest.
Christianity and Literature 50, no. 3 Spr 2001, p. 561.

O Lord our God,
make us watchful and keep us faithful
as we await the coming of your Son our Lord;
that, when he shall appear,
he may not find us sleeping in sin
but active in his service
and joyful in his praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Richard Horn. A Shoot Shall Come Forth. The Singers, dir. Matthew Culloton, Minneapolis, MN, 2019.