Author Topic: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"  (Read 880 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4321
    • View Profile
St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« on: December 20, 2010, 09:43:51 PM »
It is the eve of the festival of my namesake Apostle, Thomas.

At Vespers the Proper antiphon for the Magnificat is "O Key of David":

O CLAVIS David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et
umbra mortis.


O KEY of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel that openest and no man shutteth; and shuttest and no man openeth: come to bring out the prisoner from the
prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Or, as rendered in modern hymnody,

O come, blest key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home,
Make straight the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

By any language, in any metre,  what a beautiful juxtaposition with the Gospel for this Feast:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Key of David--who found no room at Bethlehem's inn--has prepared a place with many rooms for us.

For us and for our salvation.

Given and shed....for you, for me, for us.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2021, 11:54:33 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Harvey_Mozolak

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4857
    • View Profile
    • line and letter lettuce
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 07:09:49 AM »
Thomas, is it opening the image too far to think of the scars/wounds of the Crucified as unlocked doors to belief?  Harvey Mozolak
Harvey S. Mozolak
my poetry blog is listed below:

http://lineandletterlettuce.blogspot.com

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4321
    • View Profile
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 05:01:58 PM »
Thomas, is it opening the image too far to think of the scars/wounds of the Crucified as unlocked doors to belief?  Harvey Mozolak

With holy jest, "I doubt it".

With holy awe:  "My Lord and my God,....this is most certainly true."
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

revjagow

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Proverbs 9:8-9
    • View Profile
    • Article 7
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 06:08:58 PM »
An excellent devotional moment in the midst of vast holiday work tonight.

Many thanks!
Soli Deo Gloria!

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4321
    • View Profile
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 06:22:40 PM »
An excellent devotional moment in the midst of vast holiday work tonight.

Many thanks!

A few years ago I began to MHS CD of the music of Arvo Part titled "Polyphony" during the final week of Advent on the computer.  The recording includes German settings of the Great O Antiphons as well as the Magnificat. 

I change my custom playlist daily to begin with the proper Great O Antiphon, then the Magnificat, a repeat of the Antiphon, and then the Berlin Mass sans Gloria
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4321
    • View Profile
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2021, 07:28:52 PM »
Bumping this for "O Key of David"/ O Clavis/ Kledi A.D. 2021.

My name-day has grown complicated. 

Some in the Western Church continue to celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas on December 21, which has profound significance when pondered through the lens of the Great O Antiphon governing that day.

Others in the Western Church (for reasons which I have never truly understood) have moved the Feast to July 3.

Orthodox Christians celebrate this Apostle twice (very fittingly for one named "twin"); on the fixed date of October 6 and on the Sunday after Pascha (also called "Thomas Sunday") when the universal Church reads the same Gospel lesson of John 20:19-31.

Still, the traditional Western date remains deep in my consciousness, surfacing this evening as I ponder the words of that great antiphon and the message of hope they can bring to a wearied world frightened at the prospect of a winter of death.

"Make straight the way that leads on High
And close the path of misery"
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4321
    • View Profile
Re: St. Thomas the Apostle & "O Key of David"
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2021, 09:16:53 PM »
This year has brought into even sharper focus how the O Antiphons progress:
__     __
    \_/

At first, benign "to us the path of knowledge show" and "law in cloud and majesty and awe" then a sudden plunge  into the darker side of Advent "give them vic'try o'er the grave" followed at the very depths by "close the path to misery"; then a return of hope (just after the Winter Solstice!) 'death's dark shadow's put to flight"; before returning to a plateau of promise "be our King of Peace" and "the Son of God appears".

That focus has come through multiple lenses:  Today was the first time when I Cantored (alone with my Priest) an Orthodox Funeral, complete and unabridged, in a Funeral Home.  And that was within an hour of learning that my wife's God-brother and his wife just suffered the miscarriage of their first-expected child.

The departed Servant of God Jack was an embodiment of the Psalmist's deepest longings "O Lord I have loved the beauty of Thy house"....laboring painstakingly with manual scaffolding and paint rollers to paint the newly constructed temple in the early 1980's, as well as cobbling various furnishings for the Narthex which would later find new life in a mission congregation in Tennessee.

And the not-brought-to flower of Jan's god-brother Jesse--G-d only know what service s/he may have been able to render for God and for His people!

Nor should I overlook that this Feast will mark, this year, the 20 year anniversary of the double Eucharistic Requiem I served for the Protodeacon Howard and his wife, Lovie, with my ELCA Bishop Guy S. Edmiston, Jr.   That Liturgy was, in turn,  20 years to the day from when the formerly Union congregations voted (in a reversal of their course six months earlier) to merge as Lutherans.   Howard was President of the Lutheran Council.  His hearse was driven by the UCC Consistory President.  What strange bindings and loosenings wrought by the Key of David!   

May their Memory be Eternal!

The Great O antiphons bring us through an intense internal kenosis in final preparation for the Great Kensosis.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 12:48:58 AM by J. Thomas Shelley »
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.