December 13, 2021
Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Lucy
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with the beautiful, humble Psalm 25. Pastor Christine Robinson interprets the prayer in this way:
I put my trust in you, O God, as best as I am able.
May I be strong. May I not be afraid
May all who open their hearts
hear your voice and know your love.
Lead me, teach me, help me to trust.
You are gracious to us, O God
You guide us, you forgive our clumsy ways
You help us prosper.
When I am sad and anxiousPsalms for the New World – Christine Robinson
I school my heart to trust
I act with integrity and uprightness
And hope to feel your touch in my heart.
May it be so for all the peoples of the earth
Who call you by many names.
The psalm anchors our other readings today to suggest a theme of searching for Light in the darkness. Certainly, this was the quest of St. Lucy whose memorial we also mark today.
Lucy is the patroness of the blind. She was a brave young woman, martyred during the persecutions. Her name meaning “Light”, she has been venerated for millennia as one who can bring clarity and insight to places of darkness.
In our first reading, we hear the first messianic prophecy of the Bible. It is offered by a source perhaps unfamiliar to us — a teller of the future, Balaam.
Balaam is a diviner in the Torah (Pentateuch) whose story begins in Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers. Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor.King Balak of Moab offered him money to curse Israel (Numbers 22–24), but Balaam blessed the Israelites instead as dictated by God. Nevertheless, he is reviled as a "wicked man" in both the Torah and the New Testament. (Wikipedia)
That story is the one we read today, and it contains a beautiful prophecy to be fulfilled fifteen hundred years after its utterance:
The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eye is true, The utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, Of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured, and with eyes unveiled. I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.
Sometimes we just need to be pointed toward that star, don’t we? We kind of “see God – but not now; behold God — but not near”. It’s not always easy to believe, to trust.
We all have painful situations, unanswered hopes, lingering fears. Let us bring them out of the shadows today with the help of St. Lucy and our Brilliant God who made the stars to give us hope.
As the year moves closer to its time of deepest darkness, may we know God’s brightness in our hearts. May we sense God lighting, once again, the dark places in our lives and in our world — leading us to a “Christmas Resurrection”.
Prose: from The Seaboard Parish by George Macdonald
The world ... is full of resurrections...
Every night that folds us up in darkness
is a death; and those of you that have
been out early, and have seen the
first of dawn, will know it -
the day rises out of the night like
a being that has burst its tomb
and escaped into life.
Music: Creator of the Stars of Night