Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Maronite Year III

The Season of Announcement, which is the Maronite Advent, is structured on the nativity story of Luke, the Gospel of announcement. It thus begins in the same place.

Sunday of the Announcement to Zechariah
Romans 4:13-25; Luke 1:1-25

To Jeremiah the Lord spoke:
"Before you were formed in the womb,
before you were birthed into light,
I made you holy, a prophet."
"Ah, Lord, ah," said Jeremiah,
"I have no voice; I am too young."
The Lord put forth His mighty hand
and said, "I give words to your mouth."

Zechariah, Elizabeth,
were righteous in the sight of God,
but they could not conceive a child;
barren was Elizabeth's womb.
The lot fell to Zechariah
to offer incense to the Lord
in the temple of God Most High.
The incense went up in prayer.

From on high the great angel came,
amid the incense, clothed with light,
and said his prayer had been heard.
Elizabeth would bear a son
who would be great before the Lord,
Spirit-filled while yet in the womb,
a voice to ready the people
before the coming of the Lord.

But Zechariah was afraid
and could not make his heart believe.
Then said the angel Gabriel,
"Then take this sign: you have no voice.
As your mind was barren of faith,
so of words you shall barren be,
until the time you see the truth
and know the power of the sign."

To Abraham the promise came;
God's voice gave to him a new home
and promised barren Sarah joy,
with nations shining like great stars.
No wavering was in his faith,
the word of God he took on trust;
no law did he have to fulfill,
for grace alone restores all hope.

The incense of our prayers, Lord,
is rising upward to the heights;
the barrenness of human life
undo, O Lord, with your great voice.
As You, O Father, sent the sign
by which, O Son, You show Yourself,
in which You grant, O Spirit, faith,
give us Your truth, Your word, Your life.

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