O Clavis David - an Advent reflection

A reflection on O Clavis David ... O Key of David

We have all perhaps at some time or another had that slightly panicked feeling when we reach into our pocket or bag to retrieve some keys that were there a few minutes ago to find that they have disappeared! Where could they be? Rushing here and there and trying to retrace our steps in a vain attempt to find what was lost. After a while we then turn our attention to the door itself, will it open miraculously? Could it be that the keys are already in there? Spurious and illogical thoughts then start to pour into our minds clouding even the clearest heads. Eventually we take a breath, or we enlist some help, the keys then somehow reappear as if by some mysterious force, “but I looked there” we say. The relief and peace to have the key back in the lock and opening what was sealed is palpable. 

In this Advent time we are reminded of the wait that we had for Jesus our key as He comes and opens what could not be opened. What a relief and peace that has brought to the world.  As is said in Isaiah 22 v22-23:

I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honour to his ancestral house.’

Our Saviour comes to release the prisoners from their chains and open the way to heaven for us all.

O Clavis – Malcolm Guite

Even in the darkness where I sit
And huddle in the midst of misery
I can remember freedom, but forget
That every lock must answer to a key,
That each dark clasp, sharp and intricate,
Must find a counter-clasp to meet its guard,
Particular, exact and intimate,
The clutch and catch that meshes with its ward.
I cry out for the key I threw away
That turned and over turned with certain touch
And with the lovely lifting of a latch
Opened my darkness to the light of day.
O come again, come quickly, set me free
Cut to the quick to fit, the master key.

© Malcolm Guite, from the Great O Antiphons in Sounding the Seasons, Canterbury Press 2012 www.malcolmguite.com Used by permission.

The Rev Mother Teresa Christe, MSSR has given her kind permission for us to listen to a version of O Clavis David as sung by the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa: http://www.mariansisters.com/blog/o-clavis-david-o-key-of-david (Ctrl and click to follow link)


Please join now in saying The Magnificat , with the fourth great antiphon

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
Those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed
the almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm
and scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel
to remember his promise of mercy.

The promise made to our ancestors
To Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever
Amen 

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
Those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. 

From Common Worship © The Archbishops Council of the Church of England 2000-2006

The Bible readings are from The New Revised Standard Version Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.