O Adonai

Jeremiah 23.5-8; Psalm 71; Matthew 1.18-24

We pray this day for Adonaï, the “God of gods and Lord of lords.” [Deuteronomy 10.17] The word can be used for an earthly lord or king [I Samuel 29.8] but it is used in the Old Testament some 450 times as a pious substitute for the Name YHWH by which the Almighty revealed himself to Israel [Exodus 3.14-15], the Name too sacred to be pronounced by human lips. (Indeed, most pious Jews to this day will not say even Adonai but substitute the circumlocution, “the Name.”)

“Ruler of the House of Israel, who gave the law to Moses on Sinai, come and save us with outstretched arm.”  The Lord God whom we worship doesn’t simply regard our distresses from a safe distance.  “I am coming to deliver you” he promises [Exodus 3.8], the Same yesterday, today and forever. [Hebrews 13.8] He instructs us from the riches of his law. [Psalm 118(119).129-136] He invites us to accept him as Lord and Saviour [Romans 10.9] and to experience the joy and liberty of submission to his Lordship.

Jeremiah 23.5-8; Psalm 71; Matthew 1.18-24

Each of the final seven days of Advent has a Latin title drawn from the antiphon sung before the canticle Magnificat at Evening Prayer.  These antiphons are seven names for the Child our prayers express our longing for.  They are very ancient, mentioned by Boethius in the
5th Century.  Today we address Christ as O Sapientia: the Wisdom by which the world was made [Proverbs 8.22-31], is redeemed, and by means of which the whole creation lives in hope. [Colossians 1.27-28] 

When the whole list of Advent antiphons is read backwards, they form an acrostic sentence: Ero cras, “I will be with you tomorrow.” [cf Apocalypse 3.11] As we pray in these last Advent Days for Our Saviour to come quickly [I Corinthians 16.22; Apocalypse 22.20] we pray that he will fill us with Wisdom to recognise him when he comes. [Luke 7.35] “Wisdom of the Most High, ordering all things with strength and gentleness, come and teach us the way of truth.”

Posted in Daily Reflection.