Great Lent, the Fourth Week, Tuesday – Three kinds of wood – Matins Canon, Ode 8

Let us sing the praises of the Cross, made from three kinds of wood as a figure of the Trinity; and, venerating it with fear, let us raise our cry, as we bless, praise and exalt Christ above forever.

Great Lent, the Fourth Week, Tuesday Matins Canon Ode 8

If a Christian looks carefully, the entire world shows echoes of the Great Artificer who made it, the Holy Trinity. And this is right, since the lover is always thinking of His beloved, and everything around him invokes a remembrance of Him.

The Holy Scripture is especially suffused with direct and indirect, forcefully blunt and poetically elegant, allusions to the Holy Trinity.

Today’s’ matins canon references such an elegant allusion to the Holy Trinity. The sixtieth chapter is Isaiah is a joyful prophesy of the effects of the incarnation of the Son of God. Within this wonderful prophesy, Jerusalem is promised:

And the glory of Libanus shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together, to glorify my holy place.”

(Isaiah 60:13 Sept.)

Libanus” is Lebanon, a place renowned for its beautiful trees. This prophesy described a future historical event; the “glory of Lebanon” (its magnificent trees) would be used to beautiful the temple of Jerusalem, called here “my holy place”.

For a Christian, reading the OT with the light of the new, this means so much more. The three trees are an allusion to the Trinity and to the Cross, and the “holy place” is none other than the “footstool” of the cross:

Exalt ye the Lord our God: and worship at the footstool of His feet, for He is Holy. (Psalm 98:5)

Here is a portion of the Sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. The prose is deliciously complex. Some things are prophesies for the Jews, and some for All Christians. Some allusions are direct, and others require a “dramatic rendering”. Christian, this is your future!

Isaiah 60:1 Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. [60:2] Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and [there shall be] gross darkness on the nations: but the Lords shall appear upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [60:3] And kings shall walk in thy light, and nations in thy brightness. [60:4] Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold thy children gathered: all thy sons have come from far, and thy daughters shall be borne on [men’s] shoulders. [60:5] Then shalt thou see, and fear, and be amazed in thine heart; for the wealth of the sea shall come round to thee, and of nations and peoples; and herds of camels shall come to thee, [60:6] and the camels of Madiam and Gaepha shall cover thee: all from Saba shall come bearing gold, and shall bring frankincense, and they shall publish the salvation of the Lord. [60:7] And all the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered, and the rams of Nabaeoth shall come; and acceptable sacrifices shall be offered on my altar, and my house of prayer shall be glorified. [60:8] Who are these [that] fly as clouds, and as doves with young ones to me? [60:9] The isles have waited for me, and the ships of Tharsis among the first, to bring thy children from afar, and their silver and their gold with them, and [that] for the sake of the holy name of the Lord, and because the Holy One of Israel is glorified. [60:10] And strangers shall build thy walls, and their kings shall wait upon thee: for by reason of my wrath I smote thee, and by reason of mercy I loved thee. [60:11] And thy gates shall be opened continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; to bring in to thee the power of the Gentiles, and their kings as captives. [60:12] For the nations and the kings which will not serve thee shall perish; and those nations shall be made utterly desolate. [60:13] And the glory of Libanus shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together, to glorify my holy place. [60:14] And the sons of them that afflicted thee, and of them that provoked thee, shall come to thee in fear; and thou shalt be called Sion, the city of the Holy One of Israel. [60:15] Because thou has become desolate and hated, and there was no helper, therefore I will make thee a perpetual gladness, a joy of many generations. [60:16] And thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt eat the wealth of kings: and shalt know that I am the Lord that saves thee and delivers thee, the Holy One of Israel. (Sept, Brenton)

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