Friday, December 20, 2013

O Key of David... come

[This post is fourth in a series of Advent meditations, exploring the "O Antiphon" for each day as we walk the final steps toward the celebration of the incarnation on the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.]

Key of David,
opening the gates
of God's eternal kingdom:
free the prisoners of darkness! 

I'm horrible with keys. I'm always misplacing them, setting them down one place and then having to struggle to remember where in the world I left them. I leave them in doors, on tables, in pockets, I'm pretty horrible with them.

"O Key"
Sister Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ
But I've gotten better—primarily by training myself, like others, to always set them down in the same places.

So now, when I cannot find my keys, I look first in my coat pocket. Then, if I'm at home, I check the dish on the sideboard in the dining room. If I'm at work, I check my desk (or, if Cappy is with me, I check my office door, because I use them to get in and out of a door that automatically locks).

When you get your first set of keys to something, it feels rather magical. Or, at least it did to me. Finally now I am trusted with access to a place, access all on my own without someone else there to let me in. One of the fundamental symbols of ministry in the installation of a rector is the giving over of the keys of the church.

One of the best canticles in Morning Prayer, in my opinion, is Canticle 11: The Third Song of Isaiah (Surge, illuminare). The canticle is a song of joyful singing over the new Jerusalem, drawing from the exuberance of the final chapters of Isaiah. One of the lines in the canticle sings, "Your gates will be open; by day or night they will never be shut."And that's not just in some crazy liberal canticle, it's right there in the eleventh verse of chapter sixty!

The gates of the new Jerusalem will never be shut.

It's almost like when Jesus took on our sinfulness, he also took on the way I lose keys, like he took the keys to the gates of heaven and tossed them out the window, never to use them again.

The gates of our city are never locked.

And the one key in the afterlife that he holds on to is this: the key to the misery and prisons into which we place ourselves. We will never again need to be prisoners of darkness, scrambling for keys to get us out of the prisons we create for ourselves... he's got that key clasped tightly in his hand, ready to open that gate up and welcome you to a home where he busted the locks off the door long ago.

And I wonder, beloved of God, what doors and prisons do you long for God to open in your heart and in your life? What gates do you long to see Christ trample down? And do you see, oh beloved, do you see... the gate to our home is wide open.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

No comments:

Post a Comment