May/June 2011 - Vol. 50

Quotes From Early Church Fathers

Blessed Are You

Hymn 16 by Ephrem of Edessa (306-373 AD)

Blessed are you, Nazareth, 
whom the Jews despised
but whose name was made
beautiful by our King, who,
as a child, 
clothed Himself in you,
the Nazarene. Blessed 
are the streets, and the houses.
and the marketplaces that
surrounded Him and moulded Him
bodily, as He
surrounded and moulded
the whole of the Universe.
Blessed this strange
miracle, when
the Framer of the Universe ran
about your walls playing
games with your children.

And blessed too is Cana, whose
bridegroom called to the feast
the Bridegroom Who summoned
the gentiles to 
His wedding, so
bringing them back to Eden.
And blessed are the guests
gathered at Cana.
They were the first 
to be blessed by Him
as they were first
to taste His wine.

Blessed is the little man
high in a tree
who came down at the call
of our Lord Who came down
from heaven to go
that day to his home.
And when He entered
the door, He scattered
the ill-gotten treasure
wrung from the poor
which, when it was sown
back among the poor
yielded abundantly
so that when He
went up on the Tree 
the man who had hidden
in a tree was saved.

And blessed is the wilderness which
the Lord has blessed with a crown
of silence. Who among those that wish
to analyse and discuss could begin
to analyse the bread that multiplied
with the dew in the morning in the
time of Moses, or the loaves, 
under the blessing of the Lord? He
is blessed who knows to accept
His blessing and to feed
on Him without
disputing His begetting. Hunger
is a lesson for us, for
the truly hungry does not stop
to quarrel over the meaning
of the blessing that he craves.

Our Lord by dying has become
our living Bread,
and surely we can take delight
in this without
endless discussion and debate;
and without having to investigate
the whys and wherefores we can
surely drink His wine.
The wine in the drinker's glass is not
the wine as it is in the chemist's retort.
We need to live, but if
we stand outside our life,
substituting for it an
abstract analysis, then
we substitute for the living Bread
a thing that is dead.

Blessed are you, who could be
anyone, out of whom
our Lord expelled
a multitude of demons. Ask
the erudite gentlemen who
want to dissect the Son
where exactly in you
dwelt the demon?
Blessed is the silencing of that
multitude of tongues and blessed too
your shattered limbs, resting.
You are an image of the world that was
stripped naked and exposed to shame
but now it is
restored again, and this
is the work of the Lord for He,
alone among men has power
not to despoil but to
give back chastity.

And you too are blessed, the Jew
whom your Lord recognised as a true
Israelite, a man who wasn't
wrapped in the mantle of the serpent,
a man who stands as an
anti-type to Adam, hearing 
the call to Salvation in a garden
as Adam in Eden heard
his condemnation.
Nathaniel out from under
a fig tree hurried
to clothe himself anew
to meet the Lord.

They told you, underneath the trees,
'He has been found Who came
to find all, to find
Adam, who was lost, and to restore
his garment of light, to return
to Eden.' You were sitting
in the fig tree's shadow
and this was an image
of the dark world but
then, out from beneath
the fig tree, as
one who has shaken
off the world, you strode
forth, to meet the Lord.

The tree of life was sad when it saw
Adam fade away before it, so it shrank
smaller and smaller into the earth and finally
it too vanished, but
now it has appeared again at Glogotha
and humankind, 
breaking away from the fowler's snare,
flees to it as to a safe
refuge. Now, instead, it is
our persecutor who is beaten down, and we
at last are reunited with the Tree.

> See Godís Word is an inexaustible spring of life, by Ephrem of Edessa


 copyright © 2011 The Sword of the Spirit  | email:
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom