2. O Lord O Adonai

O AdonaiO Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Our God has a name so holy that many refuse to even utter it. Where that name is used in the Jewish scriptures, our English Bibles translate it as ‘LORD’. It is the personal name for God, one revealed to Moses as ‘I am who I am.’

There is strength and authority in this name. God says to Moses to tell the Israelittes: ‘the LORD… has sent me to you.’ That’s enough. No more credentials needed.

At a first glance, this antiphon is referring to God the Father. It the Jewish Scriptures he is the one who carries this name- LORD. But, we are actually, in keeping with the other Antiphons, praying to God the Son. We know this because Jesus was referred to as lord- kurios by his followers. This is the same word that Adonai, or LORD, was translated from the Jewish scriptures into Greek.

In this Antiphon we address our Lord, second person of a Godhead whose name is too holy to utter, Revealed to Moses as a burning bush. How fitting an image for God! Insatiable, unable to be grasped or tamed. Yet in this awesome power, God reaches out an arm to humanity in sending Jesus his son.

It is later, after plagues and a long journey, that God revealed the law to Moses. But this law was given after Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh. It is because of God’s grace toward us that we willingly have no gods before him. We are free to obey him, not as a condition of our salvation.

God has already rescued Israel from Egypt with an outstretched arm. Again, God reached out to humanity by sending Jesus to rescue us from the pit of sin and death. Today we ask our Lord Jesus to come again, to redeem us. But, knowing that his conquering death has already been accomplished, we choose to obey his laws because in them we find life.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

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