A hymn for Candlemas – Ephrem of Syria

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I was very moved to read this hymn by Ephrem of Syria from the 4th century for Candlemas (the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple) which falls on 2nd February. This was my inspiration for my sermon this coming Sunday. It is particularly lovely that we are baptising a child in our congregation at our Candlemas service and I loved the thought of Simeon’s song being a lullaby sung to the baby Jesus:

Praise to you, Son of the Most High, who has put on our body.

 

Into the holy temple Simeon carried the Christ-child

and sang a lullaby to him:

 

‘You have come, Compassionate One,

having pity on my old age, making my bones enter into Sheol in peace.

By you I will be raised out of the grave into paradise.’

 

Anna embraced the child; she placed her mouth

upon His lips, and then the Spirit rested

upon her lips, like Isaiah

whose mouth was silent until a coal drew near

to his lips and opened his mouth.

 

Anna was aglow with the spirit of his mouth.

She sang him a lullaby:

 

‘Royal Son, despised son, being silent, you hear;

hidden, you see; concealed, you know; God-man, glory to your name.’

 

The barren woman Elizabeth cried out as she was accustomed,

 

‘Who has granted to me, blessed woman,

to see your Babe by whom heaven and earth are filled? Blessed is your fruit

that brought forth the cluster on a barren vine.’

 

Praise to you, Son of the Most High, who has put on our body.

 

Presentation of Christ in the Temple Attributed to Giotto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Attributed to Giotto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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