O Come - Key of David

Ooops... This one escaped in the form of an earlier draft that only had the following verse from Neale's translation of the Antiphon for today:

O come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Latin 13th century translated by John M Neale (1818-1866)

As has been my pattern this past week, I had intended to include the original Latin text and Maggi Dawn's stimulating translation.
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.


Like all the O Antiphons, this one draws on Isaiah's prophecies, in this case:
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David;
what he opens no-one can shut, and what he shuts no-one can open.
Isaiah 22:22 (ANIV)

Of course all you Revelation junkies out there (and sometimes reading Revelation seems to be a bit of a dangerous drug...) know that John picks up on this image in the letter to Philadelphia where he writes:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.
What he opens no-one can shut, and what he shuts no-one can open.
I know your deeds.
See, I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut.



Revelation 3:7-8 (ANIV)
But Jesus at one point layed into the Pharisees saying, among other things:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces.
You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Matthew 23:13 (ANIV)

The key to God's kingdom has been entrusted to his church (let's not get into an argument about Peter's place in all of this)... But I worry at times that we've become a bit security conscious...
I've got a few elderly members of my congregation, brought up in the more trusting times and environment of the Lower Newtownards in and around the Second World War... no-one had anything worth stealing and they just left their front doors open so their friends, family and neighbours could just wander in and out of their house as pleased them. So nowadays, with the advent of Yale locks, they simply leave their keys stuck in the outside keyhole of their doors most of the day, and see nothing wrong in that...

With the church and its stewardship of the Kingdom of God, I've got a nasty suspicion that we are more like the Pharisees, than those gloriously naive members of my congregation...
And who do we regard as being on the inside and who is on the outside? Recently we gave our youngest son his first housekey, after a few "left on the doorstep" incidents... But are children keyholders in the Kingdom, as Jesus clearly described them to be? And what about the poor, and those who speak up for them - are they best kept on the outside like the protesters outside St. Paul's... being allowed to "occupy" a few square yards of pavement, for a while... Until it becomes economically embarassing?
And what about the "unchurched" (what an awful term) how are we throwing open the doors to the Kingdom to them in ways that doesn't just look like we want their bums to polish our pews and their money to pay for our property expenses?

And with that in mind let me share this petition adapted from a “Prayer for Christmas Morning” by Henry Van Dyke
Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love in our hearts and indeed all over the world,
so that your promise of peace to all people might be fulfilled.
Shalom

ps. Because this fuller reflection has turned up so late tonight, I've put back tomorrow's offering by a few hours...

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