A Hymn Prayer to Christ from the 6th Century

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Jesu, the Father’s only Son,
whose death for all redemption won,
before the worlds, of God most high,
begotten all ineffably.

The Father’s Light and Splendor Thou
their endless Hope to Thee that bow:
accept the prayers and praise today
that through the world Thy servants pay.

Salvation’s author, call to mind
how, taking the form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
Thou in man’s flesh becamest a Child.

Thus testifies the present day
Through every year in long array,
that Thou, salvation’s source alone
proceedest from the Father’s Throne.

Whence sky, and stars, and sea’s abyss,
and earth, and all that therein is,
shall still, with laud and carol meet,
the Author of thine Advent greet.

And we who, by Thy precious Blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this, the day that saw Thy Birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth.

All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.

6th century hymn translated by John Mason Neale.

An Advent Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

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Let Your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder,
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.

By St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercian monk and church reformer.

Advent 2018: join the journey

Advent_App-Wide.pngAs we begin Advent this coming weekend at Eastbrook Church, I wanted to invite you to join us for the newly reformatted Advent Worship Night on Friday, November 30, at 6:30 PM. The gathering will begin in the Worship Hall with a short program and a time of worship, followed by an optional craft making an Advent Wreath (one per household, please!) at 7 pm in Fellowship Hall and a time of fellowship.

Please pre-register for the Advent Wreath craft by Friday, November 23.No registration is required for the worship night, but please bring a plate of cookies to share!

At that gathering, you will also be able to pick up a new Advent Devotional, which our staff team has pulled together in print form, as well in a variety of digital formats online.

Advent devotional 2018

The Gift We Really Need

My message at Eastbrook’s Christmas Eve services was entitled “The Gift We Really Need.” You can watch the video below or through the Eastbrook app, listen to it via our audio podcast, or read the entire text below the video. Join us for our next sermon series beginning in January, “Unschackled,” from the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/248670268#t=12m24s

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The Son: a poem

Here is a poem that I wrote a few years back in which I reflect upon the wonder and mystery of the incarnation. Here I weave together some phrases from the old hymn “What Child Is This?” with my own reflective wonder upon Jesus’ birth.

“A virgin shall conceive and bear a son”:
myth, mystery, and mundane all meshed
and tied together in the smooth-soft flesh
and needy cries of infancy undone.
What child is this that draws attention from
ignoble shepherds, star-bent foreigners,
and vicious king?  How could this tiny child reverse
the world-wrought sin-space of human life?
This frail form hides deep within
tough and tender truths of God,
who chose to bare His very self in odd,
unguessed, and weakest shape to those in sin.
He dashed, and dashes, human renderings
in strongest weakness piercing everything.