Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is Matins?

The cycle of day and night is consecrated and made holy by the Daily Offices. These services have been handed down over centuries from the ancient Christian tradition where Jesus’ teaching was carefully considered "that men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Lk. 18:1). We have a great treasure with the Order of Matins in the Lutheran Service Book. The Daily Office is composed of psalmody, hymnody, readings, and prayers which synchronize our lives with the life of Christ through recurrent prayer. The Divine Service on Sunday is the core, whereby the Divine Offices find their meaning in the Eucharist. Matins, and the other Daily Offices of prayer ingratiate the worshiper into the Lord’s vocabulary, in which thousands of Christians have found their life. Hardened hearts are softened and released by David’s seraphic bands and dying sinners are ushered into heaven through the singing of angels. The Psalms spill over with the riches of Christ and the eschatological community is eternally present in them.

The Matins service anticipates the morning. The theme is of preparation and watchfulness with the life that comes out of darkness. We do well to remember the Ten Virgins, five of whom remain vigilant, waiting dearly for their bridegroom with lamps. The Venite is a wonderful way to greet the morning and sanctify the day. The Te Deum Laudamus is profoundly moving canticle which prepares us for the prayers. The Laudate Psalms can accompany the Matins service or can otherwise be observed at 3 A.M. The theme of Lauds is of the magnificent victory of the Lord’s resurrection. Christians can share their own awakening from sleep with the glorious resurrection of the Lord who is their joy and hope. The alleluia antiphons, celebratory psalms, and the Benedictus (Luke 1:68) move us out confidently into the day as we serve the Lord without fear. Christ has redeemed his people and the terrors of the dark no longer threaten us. We might sing "Ye clouds and darkness, hosts of night, That breed confusion and affright, Begone! O’erhead the dawn shines clear, The light breaks in and Christ is here."

1 comment:

  1. excellent, young. This will be helpful in considering when I write my sermon for the ultimate sunday of the church year, preaching at a matins service.

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