The hairs of His head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters.
- Revelation 1.14, 15
Have mercy upon us, O Almighty God, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God! O true Light of love, that enlighteneth every darkness, O guiding Light, O Sun of righteousness, O Morning star, O Brightness of the Deity, O Radiance of the eternal brightness, have mercy upon us!
- Mugrón, Litany of the Trinity, Irish, 14th century
Toward the end of the period of the Celtic revival a number of “litanies” began to appear. These seem to have been written for personal use, to aid in prayer, focus the mind, or provide a means for common devotions.
Typically they provide long lists of attributes of God, invoked for aid in praise, confession, or seeking mercy. In these litanies we get a glimpse of the Celtic Christian vision of unseen things, and we feel how powerful a reality that must have been in their daily lives.
This segment of a longer section extolling the virtues of Jesus reminds us of how Celtic Christians associated the Savior with brightness, brilliance, and the sun (especially on certain high crosses). Jesus is the Light of the world, and John saw this up close and personal, as it were, in his vision on Patmos. In paintings, dark colors tend to recede to the eye, while light colors come forward. Imagine the force of Jesus’ glorious visage as John turned to see all that brilliance bearing down on him, rushing at him, so to speak, to gather him up in glory. No wonder he fell down on his face – only to be comforted and lifted by the Savior.
Encounters with the glory of God await us in the contemplation of Jesus’ face (2 Cor. 4.6). Passages such as today’s and others – Psalms 45 and 110, for example, and Revelation 14.14-16 – can help us to gain a clearer picture of Jesus as He sits at the Father’s right hand, ruling the nations and calling us into His glory. He is truly there, and by seeking Him out in meditation and prayer, we can find grace to sustain us in the midst of every trial.
Hasten to that face full of glory today.
Psalm 17.15 (Park Street: “All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name”)
But as for me, Lord, save and bless! Let me behold Your righteousness!
Your face in glory I would see, and thus forever blesséd be,
And thus forever blesséd be.
Lord Jesus, come down on me! Let the brilliance of the light of Your glory lift the crushing burden of my sin! Let Your Spirit come to help me this day, O Lord! Adapted from Patrick, Confession
T. M. Moore, Principal