Tuesday 13 December 2023


His Yoke Is Easy and His Burden Is Light, by David Alsdorkf Cambridge Mass., 2016.
Oil painting covered by a shredded copy of the NIV bible, layered with acrylic paint, 35mm photo negatives, yarn and other materials.

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40.31)

Isaiah 40:25-31

To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 103.1-5

1 Praise the Lord, O my soul:
   and all that is within me, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul:
   and forget not all his benefits,
3 Who forgives all your sin:
   and heals all your infirmities,
4 Who redeems your life from the Pit:
   and crowns you with mercy and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your being with good things:
   so that your youth is renewed like an eagle's.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'

December Humbug, by Jim McPherson

December’s wild collective madness strikes!
We all submit like slaves to Santa's lash
and with our hearts and minds and credit cards
crown Santa as de facto Season King.
Remote from human suffering at the Pole,
he speaks to those who dream of better things
beyond injustice misery and toil
to offer tinsel hope and brittle joy:
“Just come to me, and I will bring relief
my cargo cult will save you from your grief.”
I cannot soil the Incarnation's gift
with Santa's baubles or his sugared grift.
Give me the God whose feet have touched the ground
and walked with us as human as ourselves
to celebrate our joys and share our pain;
who’s borne injustice hunger and fatigue
and who, foreswearing all escape, endured
our human death; and Death's defeat secured.
December's now the torment of my year;
while Santa's bogus claims assault my ears
the One we fete, who lived our living's ills,
is trampled in the rush for happy pills.
— From To Tease Our Knowing

Lord Jesus, every year I hope that this will be the year that I have a reflective Advent.
I look forward to this Sunday and this new season. But all around me are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration that equates spending with love. I need your help.
I want to slow down my world.
This year, more than ever, I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness. Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to recognise and accept the hunger and thirst in my own soul. Jesus, you are not missing from my life, but I want to know every place where you are present.
Be with me, Lord. Let me see what you want to show me. Lead me to the place of my own weakness, where I will find you deeply within, loving me without limit.
—Creighton University Online Ministries (edited)

Bless the Lord, O My Soul (Psalm 103)
Second movement of Vespers from All-Night Vigil, Opus 37, by Sergey Rachmaninov (1915)
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, directed by Paul Hillier.

Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda, blagosloven esi, Gospodi.
Gospodi Bozhe moy, vozvelichilsya esi zelo.
Blagosloven esi, Gospodi.
Vo ispovedaniye i v velelepotu obleklsya esi.
Blagosloven esi, Gospodi.
Na gorakh stanut vody. Divna dela Tvoya, Gospodi.
Posrede gor proydut vody. Divna dela Tvoya, Gospodi
Vsya premudristiyu sotvoril esi.
Slava Ti, Gospodi, sotvorivshemu vsya.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, blessed art thou, O Lord.
O Lord my God, thou art very great.
Thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
Blessed art thou, O Lord.
The waters stand upon the mountains.
Marvellous are thy works, O Lord.
In wisdom hast thou made all things.
Glory to thee, O Lord, who hast created all.