29 December 2009

Merry Christmas! Day Five

Which means we have arrived at the Commemoration of St. David, the King and Prophet. Here're the words from our Synod's website and the Treasury:

David, the greatest of Israel's kings, ruled from about 1010 to 970 B.C. The events of his life are found in 1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2 and in 1 Chronicles 10—29. David was also gifted musically. He was skilled in playing the lyre and the author of no less than 73 psalms, including the beloved Psalm 23. His public and private character displayed a mixture of good (for example, his defeat of the giant Goliath, 1 Samuel 17) and evil (as in his adultery with Uriah's wife, followed by his murder of Uriah, 2 Samuel 11). David's greatness lay in his fierce loyalty to God as Israel's military and political leader, coupled with his willingness to acknowledge his sins and ask for God's forgiveness (2 Samuel 12; see also Psalm 51). It was under David's leadership that the people of Israel were united into a single nation with Jerusalem as its capital city.

In our Divine Service III (the old Common Service), David's prayer of repentance from Psalm 51 is invariably sung: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit." Something powerful and beautiful as we all join him in the ultimate "sinner's prayer" and do so week by week. David's words also permeate the rest of the liturgy - for the Psalter reigns supreme in Introit, in Gradual, in versicles.

So today we pray:

God of majesty, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven, we give You thanks for David who, through the Psalter, gave Your people hymns to sing with joy in our worship on earth so that we may glimpse Your beauty. Bring us to the fulfillment of that hope of perfection that will be ours as we stand before Your unveiled glory... (Treasury, p. 1068)


Melanchthon said...

Is the commemoration of David a new festival, or is there some historical precedent for it?

Thanks for your blog. A blessed Christmastide to you

William Weedon said...


It's a new commemoration (not a festival), but I think the idea was lifted from the Eastern Rite Christians whom (I believe) commemorate the Prophet David on the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas. And thanks for the kind words on the blog! Blessed Christmastide to you as well!