Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teach Note - 12/16/2012 - The Great "O" Antiphons

Perhaps the most familiar of all Advent Hymns is “O come, O come Emmanuel”, hymn number 2.  Each verse, describing a title for the expected Messiah, ends with the refrain – “Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”
What most people do not know is that this hymn is based on an Antiphon for the Evening Prayer Canticle, the Magnificat. (p.26 in the Prayer Book).  Antiphons are appointed for special occasions, to be said at the beginning and end of the canticle.  The hymn O come, O come Emmanuel is based on the Great “O” Antiphons, said from December 16th through December 23rd in preparation for Christmas Eve.
Listed below are the antiphons for the proper days, with the verses in the hymn to which they correspond:
12/16 – O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. (v.2)
12/17 – O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearest in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sianai: come and redeem us with an outstreached arm. (v.3)
12/18 – O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall shout their mouths, unto whom the Gentile shall seek: come and deliver us, and tarry not. (v.4)
12/19 – O Key of David, and Scepter of the House of Israel; that openest and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth: Come, and bring the prisoners out of the prison-house, them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. (v.5)
12/20 – O Day-spring, Brightness of the Light everlasting, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. (v. 6)
12/21 – O King of Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay. (v. 7)
12/22 – O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, and Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God. (v.1)
12/23 – O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any seen like thee, nor shall there be after.  Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery