Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descending
comes full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
in the body and the blood,
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heav'nly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way;
as the Light of light, descending
from the realms of endless day,
comes, the pow'rs of hell to vanquish,
as the darkness clears away.
At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!"
"As the light of light descending from the realms of endless day." This is a bold and beautiful image of Christ. Perhaps we each have light to share, hope to give. But Jesus was and is the light of lights, the only one capable of once and for all vanquishing the power of death and destroying the darkness that seeks to cloud our vision. It's hard to imagine what it was like for him to enter this world fully aware of the suffering he would endure. Even his disciples, as mere witnesses to his pain, refused to hear the truth until after it unfolded. It's a complex mystery that is both beautiful and harrowing. But it is the story of our God's unyielding love for all of creation. And it is a story for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and all times, even the ordinary ones.
Light of lights, you bore the greatest of all burdens, entering the world in the humble vessel of a child, and marching slowly toward the cross which in this season of Lent looms not far ahead. Lift our weak bodies, open our eyes and guide us by your light of love, that united with you and all the heavenly host, we can share in the difficult task of loving all your creation. Amen.