Thursday 7 December 2023

On a rock

Jorge Cocco Santángelo (Argentina, 1936– ). The Rock and the Sand (2017)

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." (Matt. 7:24.)

Isaiah 26:1-6

On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
he sets up victory
like walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
so that the righteous nation that keeps faith
may enter in.
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for in the Lord God
you have an everlasting rock.
For he has brought low
the inhabitants of the height;
the lofty city he lays low.
He lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.

Psalm 118.19-25

19 Open me the gates of righteousness:
   and I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord:
   the righteous shall enter it.
I will praise you, for you answered me:
   and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected:
   has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the Lord's doing:
   and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made:
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O Lord, save us, we pray:
   O Lord, send us prosperity.

Matthew 7:21-27

‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’

Adult Advent Announcement, by David A. Redding
from If I Could Pray Again (1965).

O Lord,
Let Advent begin again
In us,
Not merely in commercials;
For that first Christmas was not
Simply for children,
But for the
Wise and the strong.
It was
Crowded around that cradle,
With kings kneeling.
Speak to us
Who seek an adult seat this year.
Help us to realize,
As we fill stockings,
Christmas is mainly
For the old folks—
Bent backs
And tired eyes
Need relief and light
A little more.
No wonder
It was grown-ups
Who were the first
To notice
Such a star.

God of the waiting, give us courage to wait with those in the most broken places of the world, and with all those who struggle to be bearers of hope there. We pray with those who wait for wars to stop, for violence to cease.

God of the waiting, turn conflict into peace. And we pray for those who have given up on the coming of hope, because they feel they wait in vain at checkpoints, at borders, for jobs, for food, and for all those whose lives are crushed under the structures and systems of injustice.

God of the waiting, wait with your world. Turn anger into reconciliation, and our lack of hope into courage, so that our waiting may be over and all the things of darkness shall be no more.
—Christian Aid UK.

Pavel G. Chesnokov (1877-1944) . We Praise Thee. Op.27 No.6. The St Petersburg Chamber Choir, cond. Nikolai Korniev. Oktavist, Vladimir Pasjukov.

Sergei Rachmaninov. We Praise Thee, from Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op.31. The St Petersburg Chamber Choir.