The promise of the light of life

CHRIST is that morning star who, when the night of this world is past, brings to his saints the promise of the light of life, and opens everlasting day.

St Bede, Commentary on the Apocalypse. This text is written over his shrine in Durham Cathedral.

**

Cormorants in the sunrise over Croome River, Croome Park, Worcestershire. © Philip Halling, Geograph. Licensed for reuse. Click for original.

Cormorants in the sunrise over Croome River, Croome Park, Worcestershire. © Philip Halling, Geograph. Licensed for reuse. Click for original.

**

IN the night of life the darkness of the passions hath laid hold on me, Christ God; it is good, then, that thou art Light without evening: flood me then with rays of repentance, save me, O thou that lovest mankind, that I may glorify thee.

Glory be to thee, our God, glory be to thee.

Matins on Mondays, Tone 4. Source.

**

HAIL, heavenly beam,* brightest of angels thou,
sent unto men upon this middle-earth;
Thou art the true refulgence of the Sun,
radiant above the stars, and from thyself
illuminest for ever all the tides of time.
And as thou, God indeed begotten of God,
thou Son of the true Father, wast from aye,
without beginning, in the heaven’s glory,
so now thy handiwork in its sore need
prayeth thee boldly that thou send to us
the radiant sun, and that thou come thyself
to enlighten those who for so long a time
were wrapt around with darkness, and here in gloom
have sat the livelong night, shrouded in sin;
death’s dark shadow had they to endure.

HOPEFUL now, we trust in the salvation
brought to the hosts of men through Gods own word,
which was in the beginning co-eternal
with God, the Almighty Father, and is now
flesh void of blemish, that the maiden bare
to help the wretched. God was seen ‘mong us
in all His sinlessness; together they dwelt,
the Creator’s mighty Son and the son of man,
in peace on earth. Wherefore, as it is meet,
we may well thank the Lord of triumph aye,
that He vouchsafed to send to us Himself.

Cynewulf, “Christ”. Translated by Israel Gollancz. There was a Cynewulf who was bishop of Lindisfarne from 740 to 780.

* The Anglo-Saxon word here is actually Eärendel, the Morning Star.

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2 thoughts on “The promise of the light of life

  1. As I sat down on my table this morning, I noticed a drawing of the sun my nephew must have drawn last night. How fitting!

    ” send to us the radiant sun, and that thou come thyself
    to enlighten those who for so long a time
    were wrapt around with darkness, and here in gloom
    have sat the livelong night, shrouded in sin;
    death’s dark shadow had they to endure.”

    These are very consoling words to me. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Perfect timing!

    They are wonderful words, aren’t they? This is a favourite passage, and both Bede and Lindisfarne are very dear to me.

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