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Revelation in Exile: the introduction to our Advent Meditations

News St Martin – Talking Points

Friday 29 November 2013

Welcome to our meditations for Advent 2013. Following our overall theme of Revelation in Exile, these daily meditations are inspired by some verses of a particular Advent hymn which you may already know:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Back in the sixth century, it was this same Veni, Veni Emmanuel which stirred the hearts of believers as they prepared for Christmas. One of the versions we sing now, and the one we have used here, is a translation from the Latin by John Mason Neale (1818-1866); scholars think the familiar tune comes from an ancient French prayer book.

Thus the words and the tune form a link in the chain that connects our ancient Christian roots with our shared faith today, and connects both to the ever-present longing for God.

Each week of Advent opens with, and is inspired by, one of the verses of our hymn. Each week is also introduced by an illustration with a linked theme, followed by a page of meditations for each of the seven days. Each day of the week was written by a different member of the St Martin’s community and reflects something of our different faith journeys. The meditations invite a range of responses: drawing, walking, or wondering – as well as praying. For those meditations which include a description of a piece of music, you may wish to search online for a performance of it, and then listen. Each Tuesday there is also a meditation in the form of a tweet: this may inspire some of you to capture the essence of your day in 40 characters or less! None of this is prescriptive, of course: these meditations are for you to use in whatever way suits you best.

The meditations will be published each morning in Advent on the parish news section of our website.

Meditation for Sunday 1 December 2013

Please consider donating £3 towards the cost of us producing the Advent meditations. You can donate here. Thank you.