Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hail! Bread on which the princes feast: continuing Nativity Fast Akathist prayer

In Bathsheba’s son God wove wisdom from the strands of David’s sin. Now a new Solomon will lie before the Ark, no longer the Ark’s worshiper, but its Treasure and its Glory. Wisdom Himself comes to be born, woven not of tangled flesh but of Spirit and virgin awe, leading us to pray:
Hail! Before Whom David danced.
Hail! Cause of sweet-sung psalm.
Hail! Glory of the Temple.
Hail! Borne between the cherubim.
Hail! Wisdom foolish to the wise.
Hail! Kingship lowly to the lordly.
Hail! Bread on which the princes feast.
Hail! Cleansing Blood for priests.
Hail! Wealth beyond measure.
Hail! Wonder of the world.
Hail! For Whom prophets spoke.
Hail! To Whom kingly praise is due.
Hail! New Child, being God from all eternity.
Not now to heaven does a chariot bear Elijah;
but upon the earth the fiery Virgin journeys,
unconsumed, to Bethlehem.
The Spirit, no longer apportioned as once to Elisha,
is poured out without measure upon all who sing:
Alleluia!

Into evil have I been taken captive, banished by sin. My heart’s walls are broken down and my body’s temple lies ruined. Where is Zerubbabel, David’s son to obey the king’s decree? Where is priestly Ezra to sacrifice for mercy’s sake? Where is Nehemiah to mourn for me? He is here, emptied into flesh, self-exiled for love of the cast out who proclaim:
Hail! Yearned for by Babylon’s streams.
Hail! Comfort of the weeping.
Hail! Forsaken but never forsaking.
Hail! Faithful to a faithless people.
Hail! Nearby when we are far away.
Hail! Joy hidden within the ashes.
Hail! Secret food for those who fast.
Hail! Who hears the rending of the robe.
Hail! Strength of the remnant.
Hail! Hearth aflame for the returner.
Hail! Temple and temple-builder.
Hail! Restorer of the Law.
Hail! New Child, being God from all eternity.

Shall Judith now slay the tyrant death?
See she comes, beautiful of face, prudent of heart,
like Esther in majesty, steadfast like Ruth,
the Virgin widow whose sword is her own Son
who wields Himself for all who chant:
Alleluia!

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