Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, drops of dew and flakes of snow. Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, praise him and highly exalt him forever. (Canticle 12, BCP pg 88.)
What does that mean, anyway, “ice and sleet, glorify the Lord.”?
I’ve long wondered about that, and now suspect that my difficulty is in not really knowing what “glorify” means. Or even “glory” or “glorious”. They might be words that I use all the time without really knowing that they mean. So lets see.
Full Definition of GLORIFY
1 a : to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration
b : to elevate to celestial glory
2 : to light up brilliantly
3 a : to represent as glorious : extol <a song glorifying romantic love>
b : to cause to be or seem to be better than the actual condition <the new position is just a glorified version of the old stockroom job>
4 : to give glory to (as in worship)
So, it can describe an action taken or to be taken. But which is it in the canticle? Does the Canticle mean that one attribute of ice and sleet is that they glorify the Lord? OK, got that. Or is a call to ice and sleet to perform the act of glorifying the Lord – by being ice and sleet. By praying Canticle 12, am I summoning up ice and sleet so that they may glorify the Lord? If that’s it; ENOUGH ALREADY. You can stop doing that any time now. Thank you very much, but I’m long past ready for something else to take up the task of glorifying the Lord.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 3-March-2015.