The O Antiphons
The last seven verses of the well-known Advent hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel utilize seven unique names to identify Jesus or praise a particular characteristic of the Savior of the Nations. Reflecting on these seven stanzas has inspired us to share a daily thought with you. Through these, we hope to connect you further to this place and ministry of which we are a part, but more importantly to draw our focus on the coming of our Lord.
O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples,
before whom all kings are mute,
to whom the nations will do homage:
Come quickly to deliver us.
Visitors to Korea, especially those who see the city skyline for the first time at night, are inevitably met with a unique sight. Scanning the horizon, one easily notices the presence of glimmering crosses, lit red with bright lights and placed upon the roofs of church structures. The first impression may be that Korea is a predominately Christian land with a plethora of churches attending to the countless faithful. Indeed, one time an individual asked our family why our sending body would have us serve in Seoul if 96% of the population was Christian!
To be fair, Christianity is not unknown in the Korean peninsula and the percentage of the people who claim Christianity as their faith is higher in South Korea than in many other Asian countries. However, with statistics showing about 13% as protestant Christian, millions and millions of people do not yet know who Christ is nor what He has done for the world. In fact, the younger generations in South Korean stray further from the church that a portion of their parents knew, seeking identify and meaning in material things of this world instead of in Jesus, the ’ensign before the people.’ As we look forward to the appearing of the Savior in a manger, let us also reflect on the ensign of the cross that He came to bear for us and our salvation.
Matt, Dee Dee, Lily and Olivia
LCMS missionaries in East Asia