Pastoral Notes 11th December, 2016

The Church’s worship builds up gradually to its great seasons of rejoicing, also in some of its ancient hymns.
A hymn familiar to us in Advent is, O come, O come Emmanuel. It sets the tone of longing and expectation, awaiting the coming Saviour. This particular hymn is based on the old Latin antiphon or psalm-heading from 17th December to 24th December. These prayers begin with titles of Jesus, looking to the Old Testament through to the New: the titles are ‘O Wisdom’ (17th December), ‘O Adonai’ (18th), ‘O Root of Jesse’ (19th), ‘O Key of David’ (20th), ‘O Rising Sun’ (21st), ‘O King’ (22nd), ‘O Emmanuel’ 23rd), – meaning ‘God with us’.
These antiphons still occur in the official communal evening prayer of the Church (Vespers), pondering the mystery of the coming Saviour.