Rorate Coeli

“During Advent each year, the Christian year teaches us to once again become Israel, recognizing our sin and need, that waiting, longing, hoping, calling, praying for the coming of the Messiah, the advent of justice, and the in-breaking of shalom.” – James K.A. Smith

The prophet Isaiah has been our means this week for joining Israel’s despair in the consequences of her own sin – exile. Taking its name from the Latin of Isaiah 45:8, the medieval prayer Rorate Coeli (Drop Down; it is also known as The Advent Prose) is a meditation on Isaiah 64. It is an Advent prayer for God to set us free from our captivity to sin, and to be renewed by his strength. As we come to the end of the first week of Advent, you may like to use this prayer in your devotional life:

Drop down ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness:

Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,
neither remember iniquity for ever:
the holy cities are a wilderness,
Sion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation:
our holy and our beautiful house,
where our fathers praised thee.

We have gone astray;
in the multitude of our sins we have been made unclean.
Fallen, fallen, stricken as leaves of autumn.
The storm wind carries us away,
the tempest of our evil deeds.
You have turned us from the face of your mercy,
and our iniquity has crushed us like a potter’s vessel.
O Lord our God, look upon your people in their affliction;
be mindful of your promises.
Send us the lamb who will set up his dominion from the rock of the wilderness to Zion,
enthroned on her mountain.
There is no other whose power can break our chains and set us free.

Drop down ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness.