December 23, 2011

Festal Dirge

Posted in Atonement, Christmastide, Eastertide, Incarnation, Redeemer, Son of God, Son of Man tagged , at 6:05 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

In the midst of life we are in death.

From her, the Mother of all Life,
Who killed her children with one bite,
We all inherit bitter strife
And in the midst of life are dead.
Hail, Eve, we quake in dread
With you and Adam as our head,
Who doomed our race with sin
So that the Promised One must win
The battle for your banished kin.

In the midst of death we are in life.

From her, whose name means Bitter One,
Sprang forth our hope, for in God’s Son
The birthright of new birth was won.
Hail, Mary, blessed by Grace,
Whose Son for Adam’s ruined race
Has turned away God’s wrathful face!
Christ was Eve’s Abel and her Seth,
Who in the midst of bitter death
Bestows eternal life and breath.

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

Several years ago a dear friend of mine was gravely ill for several months, and he found great comfort reading his prayer book, specifically The Order for the Burial of the Dead. Now, that may sound morbid to you, but it is actually the most sensible response to the prospect of impending death because the funeral liturgy is filled with not only the grim reality that our mortal life must end, but also the bright hope that death is not the end of life for those whose trust is placed in Jesus Christ.

Written 31 December 2002 and edited 17 March 2008. I edited the second verse again today to link the concepts of birthright and new birth.

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