Monday 11 December 2023

Show me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth (Psalm 85.11)

James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey-Buillon, France). The Palsied Man Let Down through the Roof (Le paralytique descendu du toit), 1886-1896. Brooklyn Museum.

Isaiah 35:1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocusit 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.

Psalm 85.8-13

8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord:
   nor are there any deeds like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you:
   O Lord, they shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do marvellous things:
   and you alone are God.
11 Show me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth:
   let my heart delight to fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart:
   and I will glorify your name for ever.
13 For great is your abiding love toward me:
   and you have delivered my life from the lowest depths of the grave.

Luke 5:17-26

17 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.’

Advent, by Stephen Hayner

Is there grace enough to cover
The darkness I discover—
To light the inner places
Long cloaked in sad disgraces?
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Is there love enough to lift me
When bold rebellion grips me
And failure bleakly presses
Guilt's overwhelming stresses?
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Is there peace enough to hold me
When nagging fears erode me;
And strangling expectation
Turns hopes to desperation?
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Is there joy enough to fill me
When barren reaches chill me
And grieving contemplation
Brings spirit's isolation?
Come, Lord Jesus, come!


God of love, Father of all,
the darkness that covered the earth
has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh.
Make us a people of this light.
Keep us faithful to your Word
that we may bring your life to the waiting world.
We ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—International Committee on English in the Liturgy

John Tavener. Mother of God, here I stand. Voces8. From the album Lux.

Mother of God, here I stand now praying,
Before this icon of your radiant brightness,
Not praying to be saved from a battlefield,
Not giving thanks, nor seeking forgiveness
For the sins of my soul, nor for all the souls.
Numb, joyless and desolate on earth,
But for her alone, whom I wholly give you.