O Root of Jesse

Jesse, whom we meet in 1 Samuel 16, is the father of King David, Israel’s second and perhaps greatest king. It was David who established Jerusalem as the capital city of the Israel of his time. David wanted to build a temple or house for the Ark of God, the box which contained the tablets of the Sinai covenant. However, God sent word through the prophet Nathan that David should not do this, but rather, God would build a house, a dynasty for him, a house that would last forever (2 Sam 7).

Several centuries after David, that promise seemed to be lost when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and a Davidic king was no more on the throne.

Yet God reassured the people through the words of his prophets that one day, he would raise up a new shoot from the stump of David’s family tree (Isa 11: 1, Jer 23:5). In the book of Revelation, the Risen and Glorified Jesus identifies himself as this Root and Offspring of David (Rev 22:16). In this Advent season, let us pray that we might rest in the shade of the One who is both root and shoot of Jesse’s stump, come to full growth.

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, O Shoot from Jesse’s root,

O God, you who are the source of Jesse’s life, You who chose from his sons the one to be anointed as king of your people, With whom you would be in special relationship as father to son, Exalting him at your right hand, Whose kingdom would never end.

Such wonderful words of promise . . . Words of hope sustaining generations . . . Even though all seemed lost, And the family tree, only a lifeless stump.

O God, your word renewed hope, "A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse," Rooted deeply in God’s fidelity. A new shoot that one day would become a tree of life, A throne for the King of Kings, Whose reign extended to all nations.

O Shoot from Jesse’s root, How we long for that day of fulfilment, When all are gathered in the shadow of your boughs, In awe and wonder . . . in peace and wholeness . . .

Come, do not delay.

S. Anne Elizabeth Sweet, OCSO