We continued our series on the book of Daniel this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by turning to Daniel’s famous prayer in chapter 9. Daniel’s prayer takes place in the first year of Cyrus’ reign, around 539 BC, and references Jeremiah 25:10-11 in recognizing that the time of the exile is reaching its conclusion. Daniel has been in exile for more than 60 years, but his imagination has not been closed in by the suffering of exile. Instead his prayer takes flight through an imagination set fire by the revelations of God.
This ancient hymn of praise to God dates from the fourth century. It is usually attributed to Nicetas (c. 392-414), Bishop of Remesiana.
We praise thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels cry aloud: the Heavens and all the powers therein.
To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy Glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee.
The godly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honorable, true, and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost: the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man: Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save Thy people: and bless Thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify Thee; and we worship Thy Name, ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let Thy mercy lighten upon us: as our trust is in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I trusted: let me never be confounded.
“The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.
“Five Books for Believers Struggling with Unanswered Prayers” – At Christianity Today, Jason Hague, author of Aching Joy: Following God through the Land of Unanswered Prayer, shares a list of five recommended books that help us grapple with unanswered prayer. Perhaps most interesting to me is that, along with books on prayer, Hague suggests two fiction works, C. S. Lewis’ The Last Battle and, one of my favorite books, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. McCarthy is not for the faint of heart, but, then, neither is unanswered prayer. Read Hague’s complete list here.
“No Country for Old Age” – Over at The Hedgehog Review, Joseph E. Davis writes about the the devaluation of old age in our society, despite advances in care for the aged through Social Security and increases in caring facilities. “In our society, to come directly to my point, old age is understood and framed in ways that lead inevitably to its devaluation. Its status is low and arguably is falling. On its face, such a claim might sound preposterous. Surely, the opposite is true.”
“The Prophets, Angels, & Churches of ‘Armenia!’” – “One small display in an exhibition can grab you by the collar. In the case of ‘Armenia!’ at the Metropolitan Museum, it was the image of a spherical wide-eyed crab in a ridged armor swallowing Alexander the Great, along with his ship and retinue, set against a wavy sea that might have been drawn by a child. It is attributed to Zak‘ariay of Gnunik and appears in an illuminated manuscript of the Alexander Romance (1538–1544), the legends surrounding the exploits of Alexander the Great, much loved by Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and Armenians alike. Dr. Helen Evans, the Met’s curator of Byzantine Art, told me, ‘That crab is too good not to be recognized as the type of art we don’t expect from East Christians.'” [Thanks to Micah Mattix for sharing this in the Daily Prufrock.]
“Antisemitism Is Our Problem” – As Christians we must wrestle with the way that antisemitism has often taken root in Christianity. Editor Samuel Loncar reflects on Christianity’s antisemitic legacy over at the Marginalia blog of The Los Angeles Review of Books. “Most Christians today will think of the ‘God of the Old Testament’ as harsh, perhaps even cruel, a judge, to which they contrast Jesus as loving and kind. This is a form of Marcionism, one of the earliest and most anti-Judaic heresies that claimed Jesus has nothing to do with Judaism, that he and his God were a revelation of pure love in contrast to the stern God of the Jewish people. No serious reading of either the Old or New Testament can justify such a contrast, yet it is perhaps the dominant way most Christians will think of the relationship between the Old and New Testament. This is one of many reasons that antisemitism is our problem, for we are a culture shaped by Christianity.”
“Giant Damien Hirst uterus sculptures catch eye at Qatar hospital” – “Fourteen giant bronze sculptures by British artist Damien Hirst graphically charting the moment of conception to birth greet patients arriving at an $8-billion hospital in Gulf state Qatar. The vast open-air installation, named “The Miraculous Journey”, shows a foetus growing in the womb and culminates with a 14-metre (46-feet) of a naked baby just after birth. The monumental work is the centrepiece of an impressive modern art collection at the Sidra Medicine Hospital, officially opened this week in Doha, that would be the envy of many galleries around the world.” [Thanks to Christina Edmondson for sharing this link.]
[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]
God, if this day my journey end,
I thank You first for many a friend,
The sturdy and unquestioned piers
That run beneath my bridge of years.
Next, for the power You’ve given me
To view the whole world mirthfully,
For laughter, paraclete of pain,
Like April suns across the rain.
Also that, being not too wise
To do things foolish in folks’ eyes,
I gained experience by this,
And saw life somewhat as it is.
Next for the joy of labor done
And burdens shouldered in the sun;
Not less, for shame of labor lost,
And meekness born of a barren boast.
For every fair and useless thing
That bids us pause from laboring
To look and find the larkspur blue
And marigolds of a different hue;
For eyes to see and ears to hear,
For tongue to speak and news to bear,
For hands to handle, feet to go,
For life, I give You thanks also.
For all things merry, quaint and strange,
For sound and silence, strength, and change,
At last, for death, which only gives
Value to everything that lives;
For these, good God, who still makes me,
I praise Your name; since, verily,
I of my joy have had no dearth,
Though this day were my last on earth.
By Dorothy Sayers, 20th century Anglican author and lay theologian.
Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves.
You have loved us first, O God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You have only loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first many things and every day and our whole life through. When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You – You are the first – You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward You in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first. When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are the first and thus forever. And yet we always speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.