Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent 2, Saturday


In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us.

-Luke 1:78, from the appointed Psalm for the Second Sunday of Advent, 2009


Our Psalm for the week is actually from a Gospel - Luke - which would be weird except that it is indeed a song, the song of Zechariah.

Remember Zechariah? He was the father of John the Baptist, whose ability to speak was taken from him when he couldn't stifle his skepticism that God could bring new life from two elderly people. This song, our appointed Psalm for the day, is the first recorded thing that comes out of Zechariah's mouth once the silence-spell has broken.

It is also the Gospel Canticle for Morning Prayer, what we sing as a response to the gospel during daily prayer in the AM. (Come to think of it, the Gospel Canticles for Evening Prayer and Night Prayer are also from Luke, all of them coming from the mouths of people standing on one chronological side or another of the birth of Jesus.) In short, the Song of Zechariah is the Morning Prayer song. Liturgically speaking, it is for us as for Zechariah the first song that comes out of our mouths when they are reopened for a new day.

Here in Seattle we've had several mornings of heavy fog. When I looked out the window this morning I couldn't see across the street. After an hour or so, though, the sea level cloud began to dissipate, and by the time I left the apartment it was clear enough to see... what?

People. People chattering about happily, hanging green boughs and garlands everywhere, along the railings, along the windowsills, along the rooftops. I waved hello to those I knew and continued to our car, which was covered in the most beautiful paisley-patterned frost. (I know what you're thinking, but frost really can be a happy thing when you're moving at a leisurely Saturday-morning pace!) No snow yet, but as I turned down Market Street the snow-capped Olympics came into gorgeously dramatic view, the perfect backdrop for the little neighborhood shops of Ballard.

I guess what I'm really trying to say, with all of my 21st-century words, is this:

In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high is breaking upon us.

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