Mystics for Advent Part Four: Saint Ephraim of Syria

St. Ephraim of Syria was a teacher of Christians and counsellor to bishops in and around Nisibis until the year 363. At that point he and his community relocated to Edessa where he continued to serve the church until his death in 373.

Ephraim gives beautiful expression to the power of the Incarnation.

The Messenger Who Came

Blessed is the Messenger who came,

bearing as He strove a lasting peace.

By mercy of the Father, He’s appeared,

lowering His brow to meet us here, and here

has squared His Lordship with His people.

Glory to your rising in the East,

both human and divine.

Blessed is the Wisdom who allied

the dying with the One Who Lives, and so

has joined the highest to the low, and so

commingled tinctures to a shade

now fit, restoring His own Image to the clay.

Glory to your rising in the East,

divine and human.

Blessed is He, Compassionate, who saw

the pathway blocked, the flaming spear

obstructing still our journey to the Tree of Life —

that by opening His unprotected side,

which, pierced, sufficed to open Paradise.

Glory to your rising in the East,

both human and divine.

Note: The words of St. Ephraim have been arranged by poet Scott Cairns as presented in his book, Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete Press, 2007).

Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam and one of the blog masters of New Westminster Anglican blog. Your comments and contributions are always welcome.

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