Monday, December 21, 2009

Deacon Dulas: "O Oriens"

Here's the 5th in the series on the "O" Antiphons by Deacon Jerry Dulas.

Listen to today's antiphon at


Today's "O" antiphon expands upon yesterday's "O" antiphon --

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol iustitiae:
Veni, et illumina sedentes
in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Dayspring,
Splendor of Eternal Light,
and Sun of Righteousness:
Come, and enlighten those that sit
in darkness and in the shadow of death.
[translation Edward Traill Horn, III]

-- There are three prophetic types of the Messiah in this "O" antiphon they are "Dayspring," "Splendor of Eternal Light," and "Sun of Righteousness." The promised blessing is the similar to yesterday, it is, light for those in darkness.

All three of the Messianic types deal with light penetrating darkness. So we begin to see in this "O" antiphon the theme of Christmas -- light dispelling darkness -- peeking through. And it fits, because today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice. From now on the days will steadily gain more and more light. Darkness will continuously give way to light.

And so our God in the flesh, Who suffered with outstretched arms, and was a banner for the nations, and who gave us the Keys to open heaven to repentant believers, now affects even nature by bringing His creation out of darkness into His eternal light. In His death on the cross, our Lord Jesus begins to create a new heaven and a new earth, where no Sun or Moon is needed, for He Himself is the Light of the World.

The first Messianic type, "Dayspring" is found in the Greek (anatole) and Latin (orient) versions of Zechariah (3:8, 6:12), but it is most familiar to us in the words of the Benedictus, the Song of Zecharias, at the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist, where he proclaims,

To give knowledge of salvation
by the remission of their sins,
through the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us;
to give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death:
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

A dayspring is the first light of the dawn, and Zacharias by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, proclaims that his son will go before the One who will bring the world out of sin and darkness, and enlighten the earth, so that we might be able to see our way into the way of peace. Our Lord Jesus, as the Dayspring, brings light to the whole world. He is the dawn of salvation, and He brings this whole world out of the darkness of sin and the shadow of death into His eternal light.

The second Messianic type, "Splendor of Eternal Light," adds to this theme of light. It is referred to in the letter to the Hebrews (1:3), where the "splendor of His glory" purges away our sin. In the Book of Wisdom, (7:26) Wisdom, which is a Messianic type, (see the first "O" antiphon) is referred to as the "brightness of the everlasting light." But we see this Messianic type most readily in the words of the Creed, "Light of Light." No other light compares to the Light of our dear Lord Christ.

The third Messianic type, "Sun of Righteousness," depicts our Lord Jesus through the words of the Prophet Malachi, (4:2) "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings." (KJV) This "Sun" is the light for the kingdom of grace, for all those who are holy by the grace of God on account of His Son. He heals all those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Who are these? They are not just pagans, heathen, heretics, and unbelievers, but they are also all those who struggle with sin daily, that is, you and me. We daily sin much, and while we remain in this flesh, sin, death and the devil continue to heckle and accuse us into despair and shame. But thanks be to God! For our dear Lord Jesus through the Gospel and sacraments, enlightens our dark lives, and brings us into His eternal light.


Deacon Dulas also provides this setting from Liber Usualis.  It is a different psalm tone than the one you'll here on Time Out.


Deacon Dulas is ordained into the pastorate and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (  In his own words, "My call is to serve as deacon and missionary-at-large to MN and WI at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tony, WI.  We are starting a mission here in Mayer, MN, and the surrounding area called St. Matthew Ev. Luth. Mission."

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