With me nearing the end of so many things, today I look to a favorite hymn for inspiration: Of the Father’s Love Begotten.
School days until the end of first semester: 5
Days until Christmas Eve: 15
Days until my due date: 51
View of my toes this morning:
I feel like I’ve been so busy and there is so much happening inside and outside my classroom that I want to write about, but because I need to slow down, let me share my morning devotion with you.
Every Friday morning at 7:30 a different faculty member delivers a 5-10 minute devotion to any faculty or staff member who wants to attend. Today was my day; it is one of my last “checkoff items” for the year before I go on maternity leave at the end of next month.
To make sure I remembered, I wrote “FacDevo” in pen on my hand yesterday. I’m not normally a body-part-post-it-note type person, so when I picked up Spartacus he looked at my hand with great concern and asked, “Mommy, what wrong? Momma ouchie?”
I’ll admit I don’t make it to faculty devotions most weeks; arriving at school by 7:30 AM is a struggle with our Morning Crazy, but when I do manage to attend my favorite devotions are the ones that involved music.
A Concordia Publishing House blog post this week explored some lesser-sung (but just as wonderful) Christmas hymns. I chose to use Of the Father’s Love Begotten for my devotion text. I played a lovely hand bell audio version while we read this moving text:
|Scanned from Lutheran Worship|
I am using it as a review of rhetorical analysis terms in my AP English class today for bell work. It has examples of archaic diction (“Of the Father’s love begotten ere the worlds began to be”), juxtaposition (“He is Alpha and Omega”), inversion (“He the source, the ending he”), parallel syntax (“chanted of with one accord…promised in their faithful word”), hortative sentences (“Let creation praise its Lord”), and repetition (“Evermore and evermore”).
Obviously the faculty doesn’t care about AP rhetorical strategies, but I am always moved by how beautiful hymn text is and its effect on my devotion and worship (which is the “so what” factor I try to emphasize to my students whenever they analyze text). The original Latin text was composed in the fourth century by Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, making it one of the oldest hymns we sing. The original first line was “Corde natus ex Parentis” – literally “born from the heart of the parent” – what incredible imagery! It was written in response to heresies promoted by Arius, who pushed that Jesus was not full God and full man and therefore was less than the Father. Emperor Constantine resolved this at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, where Saint Nicholas (then a bishop from Myrna) famously punched Arius in the face. My students liked this little historical background, and it contributed to their identification of the author’s purpose – a key skill in AP English.
There are several different English translations of the verses, but I used the one from Lutheran Worship because it happened to be the hymnal I had in my classroom. I leave you with the doxological last verse in the hymnal for your Friday praise:
Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore!
Love that hymn. Found it very comforting to listen to on the way to the hospital for a couple of weeks when my sweet husband was there.