December 21st marks the winter solstice and the accompanying antiphon is appropriately, O Oriens or O Dayspring. The antiphon reads,
O Dayspring splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness: come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
The prayer finds its inspiration in several Bible passages:
Isaiah 9:2 The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
Luke 1:76-79 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Here’s a sonnet for the antiphon.
Turned west, this sunset of humanity
Denies the dusk of death’s looming shadow.
Reviles the real as some profanity
Which pilfers profit and ruins workflow.
O Sun of Righteousness, make right and shine
On prisoners who dwell in dark dungeons,
On the worried who’s weeds choke and entwine,
And the pharisee who can’t see his sin.
O Dayspring, shine, flood our grey town in light
Drive back the darkness in which lurks our fears.
Dawn! Flood! Arise! Illuminate our night!
Speak tender mercies, wipe away our tears.
When with healing wings the Sun rise on all,
We bound as joyful calves from winter’s stall.
© Randy Edwards, 2016.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
photo: Randy Edwards, sunrise Cherry Grove, SC