One of my favourite hymns of all time must be the Morning Doxology. The tune is lovely: lively, enthusiastic, full of joy and hope … a great way to start off the day. On special ocassions, like the Raising of Incense for the Great Feasts, Easter, Christmas and Epiphany, this hymn has a special long tune called The Seven Ways. it combines all your favourites from tasbeha and the liturgy, and is a truly heavenly experience, when it is done right.
But it is the words I especially like. Please allow me to share some of them with you, together with some thoughts.
The Light of Truth: who illuminates: every one : who comes into the world.
You came into the world: through Your love for mankind: and all the creation: rejoiced at Your coming.
The imagery of light darkness is of course is a very well known device used in the Gospels and the Bible in general. This hymn applies it, though, in a very intimate way to or daily experiences. It sets out clearly near the beginning just Who exactly is the source of all light in our lives. True, we no longer think that God literally holds the sun in his hands and moves it across the sky for us, but we know that it is He who created this whole universe, gave it its laws of nature, and designed this amazing planet for us to dwell on.It is true, then that every morning that dawns upon us is a gift from the hand of God. The light that shines upon us from the rays of the sun is symbolic of the light of Truth and Love He shines in our hearts.
With the morning, the past day is wiped away, consigned to memory, while a new and exciting day full of potential is revealed by the sun’s light. So also does the light of God push behind us our past failures and weaknesses, and reveal to us new hope, a hope founded not on ourselves, but upon the power of the Giver of that Light. Thus did St Anthony the Great pray every morning, “Lord, I have not yet begun to know You! Forget all the wasted days of my past and let me begin a new life with You this day”.
and later on:
Let there shine in us: the senses of light: and let us not be covered: by the darkness of pain.
It is only when our souls are blinded by the darkness that we can fall in sin. We err when we consciously or unconsciously hide ourselves from the Light of God’s Truth and love, and there in the darkness, our baser instincts can gain control over us. It stands to reason that when one throws open the curtains and lets the Light back in, the works of darkness flee and dissolve away. This is what happens when we repent and then confess. This is what happens every time we invite our Lord into our hearts with warmth and longing.
When going from a dark room out into bright sunshine, one is blinded for a while until the eyes adjust. So also, when returning to the room, the eyes see nothing for a while until they readjust. At the beginning of the day, we cry to God to give us eyes for light, not for darkness, to grant us to roam free in the wide world of light, not to be imprisoned in the man-made prison of our selfishness and self-centredness.
In this morning: ease our inner ways: and our outer ways: with the joy of Your protection.
That which we do on the outside is a reflection of that which we are on the inside. Most sins begin in the mind and heart, and from there progress to fruition in action or word. Thus we ask God to walk with us this day along our inner paths. These are the paths the feet of our mind will tread, the directions our thoughts will follow. Without Jesus to guide us, it is all to easy to lose one’s way and find oneself treading upon thorns and thistles, or fighting through dense undergrowth and branches that will not yield. Much effort, little progress … all because I chose the wrong path.
But with Jesus beside me, listening to His directions, feeling His gentle nudges on my hand in His, looking to Him constantly for a lead, for reassurance, for courage and strength, any path is negotiable. Even when the right path becomes dangerous and difficult, His presence at my side makes the path not only bearable, but passable.
Out of Your goodness: You prepared for us the night: grant us this day: to be without sin.
The night and the day are both from God. He allows us to enjoy the sweet rest of sleep as well as the thrill of the challenges of the day. With Him, good can be found in both darkness and light. Under His protection, we can even “Walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil”. Sleep, often called in Coptic tradition, “the little death”, holds no fear, for it has become inhabited by God.
We give thanks for the night that has safely passed, for all previous nights and days that have now passed. It is good to remember that the Lord has never left us. With that knowledge to fortify us, we can look forward to the new day with hope rather than fear. Perhaps today is the day that I will repent truly from my troublesome sins?
You can find the text of the Morning Doxology in any Psalmodia book, or online, in Coptic and English, at:
You can also hear it as an audio file or download it as an mp3 from the above site or from:
Aren’t we blessed to live in an age of technology!