Dec 20, last work day of 2013

Friday,  December 20,     “O Key of David”

“O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit;  claudis, et nemo aperit : veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris et in umbra mortis.”

“O key of David and scepter of the house of Israel : you open and no one closes;  you close and no one opens : Come and lead us out from the chains of this prison house, where we sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”

Early this morning in the dark of our Lansing-Reilly kitchen, I made tea and oatmeal and savored stillness.  The last work morning of this year, a turning toward a time for noticing kinship at a slower pace.   It came to me that the words of today’s O Antiphon do not sing of a single person. The first person plural pronoun “we” is the one who “sits in darkness and death’s shadow.”  We share griefs and fatigue;  we suffer the violences that afflict any one of us; we share delight and achievement and creative passion.

It’s an old lesson: that I do not live by myself.   Noticing that while drinking some tea in the early morning dark made the tea taste a little better than usual.   See you in the new year.   Thankyou to everyone who gave me suggestions to improve these posts, or stopped me on the sidewalk, or emailed, to celebrate the power and beauty of one or another poem.

See you in 2014.

john sj

sung in chant (not precisely from the Liber Usualis though)

  • December 17: O Sapientia (Wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (Lord)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (With Us is God)


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