The Odes of Solomon and Mosul, Iraq

The Odes of Solomon are likely the first collection of Christian hymns that the early church produced. At the very least, they offer a glimpse of the hymns that were composed and sung by the earliest Christian congregations. There is documented historical evidence for this proposition. In Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan mention is made of the singing of hymns that was so typical of Christian worship.

I am delighted by the opportunity that I’ve had this week to learn more about the Odes of Solomon. They were 42 hymns written for the worship of the Syriac-speaking churches. What is so striking to me, in light of recent events in Iraq, particularly Mosul, is that this is where the Odes of Solomon were first sung.

The first line of Ode 1 goes like this:

The Lord is on my head like a crown,
and I shall not be without him.

My prayer is that my suffering brothers and sisters from Mosul and Iraq, men and women, boys and girls, will have the comfort of this knowledge engraved upon their souls.

I pray that their prayer may be like that of their brothers and sisters of the early church, who sang in the words of Ode 42:

I was not rejected although I was considered to be so,
  and I did not perish although they thought it of me.
Sheol saw me and was shattered,
  and Death ejected me and many with me.
I have been vinegar and bitterness to it,
  and I went down with it as far as its depth.
Then the feet and the head it released,
  because it was not able to endure my face.
And I made a congregation of living among his dead;
  and I spoke with them by living lips;
  in order that my word may not be unprofitable.
And those who had died ran towards me;
  and they cried out and said, Son of God, have pity on us.
And deal with us according to Your kindness,
  and bring us out from the bonds of darkness.
And open for us the door by which we may come out to You;
  for we perceive that our death does not touch You.
May we also be saved with You,
  because You are our Saviour.

Lord Jesus, have mercy!


Published in: on July 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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