We continue our series reflecting on the O Antiphons, the prayers for the seven days before Christmas.
O Key of David
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel; you open and none can shut; you shut and none can open: come and free the captives from prison, and break down the walls of death.
Come, Lord Jesus.
I will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (Isaiah 22:22)
This is one of the stranger metaphors, but one that Jesus used himself when describing his mission and that of the body of Christ he was creating. What the Messiah opens, none can shut. We know from other parts of Isaiah (for example, chapter 61) and from Jesus’ own words that his mission was to open the love of God to all–to break down the dividing walls of hostility, to open the eyes of the blind, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim good news, freedom to captives, the year of God’s jubilee. One common image is of Jesus “opening heaven’s door.” While we don’t like to think that God was somehow locked up and a key was needed to let us have access to God’s grace, that idea has been with humanity a long time (and is still with us in some insidious ways)–that we need a special ritual, a special person, a special sacrifice, special words, a particular prayer, to have access to God. In this prayer we remind ourselves that is simply not true–Christ has opened the door, and none can shut it.
Can you imagine yourself freed by the Key of David, freed to love yourself and others, freed to set others free, free to have a relationship with God without the need for perfection or the-right-way?