O Root of Jesse

The third antiphon of the Great O Antiphons reads: “O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.”

The sonnet is based on Isaiah 11:1, 10-12. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit….
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.  11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. 12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”

O Root of Jesse, the tender shoot
From whom the kingdom springs
In this world reach down, take root
To free the captives bring your blessings.
O Root of Jesse, who walked Galilee
Working wonders among your own
Stopping to heal those why cry, “Mercy!”
But for you, no mercy was shown,
O Root of Jesse, born to die
Raised on a tree, thorns for a crown
Raised to life, the tomb opened to sky
The stump springs green though the tree cut down.
O Root of Jesse, who makes men free,
Take root in my heart and grow in me

(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: The Jesse Tree in the Lambeth Psalter, unknown English miniaturist, c.1140s

O Lord (O Adonai)

The second of the Great O Antiphons of Advent.
“O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Based on: Based on Exodus 6:6 “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. “

O Lord, as Sinai’s burning bush blazed with fire
You answered Moses saying “I AM,” is your name,
And promised your arm would reach and never tire
Until your son you saved from slavery and shame.
Even while gathering the bread you sent each day
And resting in the presence of shrouded Sinai’s peak
The people complain, reject the word, and stray
From Him who’s love it is to rescue those who’re weak.
Whether Pharaoh or Self, my arms cannot bear
The weight of the oppressing world’s pretenders and lords
Shackled in silence caught again in sin’s snare
Paying a jailer off in lies for the rightness I can’t afford.
But the I AM in a manger laid bare His arm and crossed
Reached down to our humanity to redeem the bound and lost.

(c) Randy Edwards

artwork: Moses and the Burning Bush ; Michiel van der BORCH ; illuminated miniature on vellum from Jacob van Maerlant’s « Rhimebible » of Utrecht ; manuscript MMW 10 B 21; Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague

O Wisdom II

“O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.”

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

O Wisdom we hear the call for what we lack
The insight to know what we should do.
Regret and failure, rush to stab us in the back
In darkness we grope, reaching out to find you.
And more than answers but of character we
Seek to be Spiritually formed and stayed
Not double-minded, tossed in confusion’s sea
But with courage to stand, in glory to be made.
O Wisdom go, they are lost in that world.
Each city block a crossroad, a decision to make
Knowing with each step their destiny unfurls
To blessing or cursing, show them which way to take.
And Wisdom heard and obeyed and rushed to find them
Crying out to the lost from a manger in Bethlehem.

(c) Randy Edwards

from: Nativity, a large historiated initial from an Antiphonary, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Italy (Florence), c.1400]

O Wisdom

From the Great O Antiphon: “O Sapientia
“O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.”

Isaiah 11:2-4a
2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

In the silent moment before song and speech
As the Spirit inhales o’er the chaotic night
Wisdom stands poised all creation to teach
Awaiting the command, “In the darkness be light!”
The I AM’s glory on Sinai’s height thunders
And Wisdom speaks Precepts to Moses alone
Two bearing the likeness of God’s worded wonders
Scribed beauty revealed in the tablets of stone.
Isaiah’s coming King shall rule with right wisdom.
David’s Lord and heir, a counselor with sight–
Who with equity leads the poor into his kingdom
Discerns every confidence, sets brokenness aright.
Again Wisdom is poised this night in the world’s wild–
God’s Word sounds the darkness through the cries of a child.

(c) Randy Edwards

The Talk

Sad to hear the news about Micky Rooney.  Here is one of my favorite scenes as Judge Hardy speaks with Andy about marital faithfulness.