Every Sunday morning I conclude Morning Prayer with the Te Deum, the Western Church's great chant hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The title is taken from the first line, 'Te Deum laudamus', which means, 'We praise You, O God' . The Te Deum is supposed to be the response to the proclamation of the gospel at Vigils (aka the Office of Readings) but I found that while I often don't have time to pray this office, I do have time to sing the Te Deum at the end of Morning Prayer, so that is what I do.
I was getting ready to begin singing the Te Deum this morning when I realized that I had a lot to praise God for this morning. Only a week ago it appeared inevitable that the United States governmnet would launch an attack (or a series of attacks) on Syria, with the risk of escalating the already brutal and intolerable conflict there. Just a week ago we were on our knees storming heaven with prayers for peace, asking our good Lord for a miracle.
Being in the midst of events, it is impossible to know with certainty, but yesterday's diplomatic agreement to begin the process of identifying, securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons, looks a lot like a miracle to me. Or, if not strictly miraculous, in the sense of the waters parting, loaves and fishes multiplying, the dead being raised, the weeks events appear to be the answer to our prayers, a miracle of grace for which I am grateful.
I know it's too early for THE Te Deum: the war in Syria hasn't ended after all, an estimated six million Syrians are internal or external refugees and a cease-fire leading to a negotiated settlement is still a long way off.
But I think it is also important to rejoice and to thank God at every step along the way, including for this answer to prayer. So my Te Deum this morning, sung each Sunday in praise of the Lord's victory over sin and death in his sacing death and life-giving resurrection, was in thanksgiving for this amazing turn of events.