Themes of Advent: OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN

de-eucharista“EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”
Aureilus Prodentius wrote these words sometime in the fourth century, to describe the love of God; in what the church has preserved as one of our oldest Christmas carols; if not one of our oldest hymns…period.

“OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN,” Aurelius wrote,          “ERE THE WORLDS BEGAN TO BE, 
HE IS ALPHA AND OMEGA, HE THE SOURCE,               THE ENDING HE,
OF THE THINGS THAT ARE, THAT HAVE BEEN,
AND ALL THAT FUTURE YEARS SHALL BE,                           EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

This carol has been sung as several empires have risen and fallen. The “known” world of Mediterranean culture was still a millennium away from voyaging to the Americas. LATIN, the language in which this hymn was written, was the common tongue that became a dead language. Yet this hymn has an eternal transcendence to it.

The promise of Christ’s coming is “EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

In the fourth century when Aurelius was writing and working, the church was still caught up still answering the question of who Jesus was – was he man? God? Either? Both?

The Nicene creed was new; but not yet universally accepted. Arians –
those who thought Jesus was a good guy (but not God) – still had considerable influence;
and many people were living through war, poverty, plague and uncertainty (which is not unlike today). The message of the song is clear:

God’s love in Jesus is “EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

Aurelius here offers a clear articulation of the faith –
Jesus as both fully divine and fully a human being;
as born into this world savior and redeemer;
as the fulfilment of the scripture, and true authority over heaven and earth;
not just for a fleeting moment or a distant hope,but

“EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

Aurelius knew that singing the faith, is great way to learn it; and preserve it.  (Luther realized that too; over 1000 years later). Think of all the hymns (and Christmas carols) you know by heart. It is so much easier to remember a song than it is to remember a sermon.

“EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

Through all the change we have experienced –
Across time, place and understanding of the world.
And through all the uncertainty our world today in the twenty-first century,
Comes the same resounding hope:

“EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

Aurelius was born in what we would now call Spain. Living from 348-413.
This hymn made its way across Europe as far east as Bohemia and as far North as Scandinavia. It was set sometime in the ninth or tenth century to a plainsong tune
called DIVINIUM MYSTERIUM (DIVINE mystery)
also known as DE EUCHARISTA (OF THANKSGIVING).
[You might remember Eucharist is also another name for Holy Communion;]
which is also centered in the divine and human nature of Christ;
his life, death and resurrection and ongoing presence among us.

The current tune comes to us by way of Wolfenbutel, Germany from the thirteenth century. John Mason Neale translated this text in its current form in 1851.

It should be note that this hymn in the past has been called:
“Of the Father’s Heart Begotten.”
“Of the Father’s Soul Begotten.”
And our version here: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

Paul wrote that Love was everything.

Other things end. But love bears all things, endures all things,
Faith, Hope and Love, these three are important – but the greatest of these is Love.
Love bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things. Endures all things.

Love never ends. “EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

Tonight is the darkest night of the year.
And a darkness both real and metaphoric looms throughout our world and in our lives.
So tonight – when the Light seems the farthest away,
When Christmas seems so close and yet remains farther than we can reach,
And so many people are hurting.
Let us take on the song of Aurelius, Paul, and the promises of God.
That love is coming. “EVERMORE AND EVERMORE.”

___

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

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About geoff sinibaldo

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Son, Friend, Change Proponent, Goofball, Seeking Faithfulness in the 21st Century
This entry was posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Posts, Advent/Christmas Sermons, on Letters of Paul, Sermons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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