Tag Archives: Prayer

A Hymn for Midday (Qua Christus Hora Sitiit)

The following is my metrical translation of a Latin hymn from the Middle Ages. Its original author is anonymous; in fact, the date of its composition isn’t certain (probably sometime between the 12th and 16th centuries). Its usual time of singing, however, is the hour of Sext (or noon, the sixth hour). The first two lines reflect two different occasions. The first comes from John 4. Jesus enters the town of Sychar, and wearied from His journey, sits by Jacob’s well; John tells us that the time “was about the sixth hour.” (John 4:6). This is the setting for the “Samaritan Woman at the Well” episode in which our Lord Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink (John 4:7-14ff.). Of course, as the second line reminds us, Jesus also suffered on the cross during the sixth hour; thus, the author directs our minds to the Lord’s thirst on the cross. And as we remember how our Lord thirsted, we sing that we would be thirsty – not for water, but for righteousness in Christ (Matthew 5:6), and hungry – not for food, but for Christ Himself (John 6:48-51)! We who are united to Christ through faith by the working of the Holy Spirit are led and empowered by the Spirit to mortify the flesh (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5-6) and to put on christlikeness (Colossians 3:12-17; Ephesians 4:17ff.). This short song is an excellent reminder in the middle of the day that we are to live for Christ always!

Notes: 1) The lyrics may be sung to any tune; I prefer Old 100th (e.g., “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” or “Doxology”). 2) In the second stanza I translate “cosmic crime” rather than “sin” because the word that is used here is not the typical Latin word for “sin” but for “crime”, and as the crime is against the Lord, it is a crime of cosmic treason (to quote the late Dr. Sproul). 3) That being said, the song is not an exact translation, but near as I could be in this particular poetic form.

The hour on which the Christ did thirst,

Or on the cross did wrath endure –

Enrich us as we sing this hour

With deeper thirst for righteousness.

May we a hunger also feel

Which He Himself may satisfy,

That cosmic crime might make us sick

And virtue be our soul’s desire.

O may the Holy Spirit’s gift

So rush into us as we sing,

That carnal fires may be cooled

And cold minds boil with fervent heat.

Loving God with Augustine

As you think on these words from Augustine’s Confessions, prayerfully seek a deeper love for God, a love inflamed in us by the fruit-producing work of His Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22)! Pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17) that, as you daily spend time in the Word, the Holy Spirit would give you a deeper love for the God Who Is, He Who has gloriously revealed Himself to us in Christ clothed in the gospel!

For he who loves along with you anything that he does not love for your sake, loves you the less. O Love ever burning and never extinguished, Love, my God, set me ablaze! Augustine, Confessions, 10.29.40.

Wretched and restless indeed are those spirits which are carried away by this downward flux, revealing the depths of their darkness, stripped as it is of the raiment of your light; but through that very restlessness you give abundant proof of the greatness of your rational creation, which is unsatisfied and cannot know blessedness and rest in anything less than you, and hence not even in itself. For it is you, O Lord, who will lighten our darkness; from you arise our raiment, and our darkness shall be as the noonday. Give yourself to me, O God; restore yourself to me. Behold, I love you; if that is not enough, let me love you more strongly. I cannot measure and know how much love I lack; how much more would be enough to make my life run to your embraces and not turn aside until it was hidden in the hidden depth of your countenance. This alone I know: that without you it is not well with me, not only outwardly but also within myself, and that all my wealth that is not my God, is poverty. Augustine, Confessions, 13.8.9.

Sojourn: A Brief Meditation

The world is quiet around me. And yet it’s not. The bright white of the falling snow, the underlying ice that has frozen the earth, the occasional sing-song chatter of hungry birds, the icy crying wind, and the passing of those who will not be deterred by the winter’s stormy countenance – I see, feel, hear all of these. And yet, there’s something quiet about a snowy day. It is as though, under its milky blanket the earth silently and eagerly awaits the thaw. It may be a cliché that has long been played out, but it is one we do well to remember: winter is awaiting its end, and even in its stillness it presses on to the spring, when the pure white will give way to brilliant greens and the multitudinous colors of God’s gardens, just as light shone through a prism reveals itself to be more than what we first saw. I am an exile, a sojourner to a home I’ve never yet seen, to a spring that will not end. This home is promised to me, the city of wholeness and peace, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-27); I wait, and at the very same time, I press on. I wait… for the Lord must come again and consummate His kingdom. I press on… “I journey to find the place where I will be resurrected,” as the missionary disciples of Columba said. I am a knight of heaven, a son of the King, in this world and in the next. This winter will end; it will not always be this way. In “this world with demons filled” (Luther), we are the church militant, the church sojourning; but the Son will come, and with this winter past, we shall be the church victorious, the church at rest at last. Let us wait for His salvation; let us press on to know Him, to do the works He has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10), and one day to see Him with our own resurrected eyes.

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:12-25

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” Psalm 62:1

“Toil passes, and rest will come; but rest only through toil. The ship passes, and you arrive at home; but home only by means of the ship. We are sailing the high seas, after all, if we take account of the surges and storms of this world. The reason, I am convinced, that we are not drowned is that we are being carried on the wood of the cross.” Augustine, Sermones ad populum, sermon 104.

Prayer: O Lord, God of sojourners, Who brought His ancient people from slavery in Egypt through the wilderness and to the Promised Land, and have in Christ vouchsafed to bring Your church unto Yourself in the New Jerusalem, protect us as we journey on, and strengthen our waiting faith that the homeland we behold with the eyes of faith now will be the homeland we see in joy with our resurrected eyes when Christ returns to judge the world. We ask in the name of Him Who bore the winter that He might bring His people to the everlasting spring, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.