We are long overdue for a new prayer bead devotion! So, I thought it was fitting to have a new one today, on this first day of Advent 2013.
This morning we sang “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” It has been a long time since I’ve sung this hymn, and I must admit, even then I didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics. But the fact that we sung this in the context of our annual “Hanging of the Greens” service sparked my curiosity. I paid attention, wanting to understand how this ancient hymn connected with Advent.
It didn’t take long. The very first verse makes clear the connection:
Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand; ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in His hand, Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.
The song calls us to be silent. We are encouraged to quiet the constant rattling in our heads, those voices that are caught up with “earthly” matters. Why? So that we will recognize what is happening around us: we will pay attention and see our God is coming down to earth in human form to save us. Once we recognize this we will want only to pay our full homage.
This beautifully sets the tone for Advent. In the midst of the shopping, baking, entertaining, and decorating; in the midst of our fears, despair, loneliness, and anxiety, we are encouraged to be silent. It is so simple, yet so profound.
Let us take up our beads and practice being silent. We will wait – with hope and joy – to pay homage to Christ our King.
Cross: Loving God,
Invitatory Bead: still my mind and my body,
Resurrection Bead (optional): so that I may wait for the birth of your son, Jesus.
Cruciform Beads: Help me to be silent.
Week Beads: with each bead, take a deep breath. You may want to repeat a word or phrase (such as “be still”) or you may choose to be silent.
Resurrection Bead: Lord, we need a savior.
Invitatory Bead: Help us to wait.