The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mary's song and more

The timing of my church services for Christmas Eve led me to include Advent 3 with Advent 2 so I could skip ahead to Advent 4 (did y'all follow that?) because I couldn't have an Advent without hearing from the Theotikos, the God-Bearer herself, Mary Mother of Jesus, the prototypical Christian, who experienced 9 months of Advent as opposed to a mere 4 weeks.

I call Mary the prototypical Christian because she is the first to say "Yes" to Christ, although not quite in the same way that others who would come after her would. Her "Let it be" is joined with God's "Let it be" for the salvation and re-creation of us all. Her "Let it be done to me according to your word" is an example for us all, also called to be God-bearers ourselves, although once again, in a way different from Mary, but yet with some of the same struggles and fears.

Inspired by some of my Revgalblogpal friends' answers to the Friday Five regarding favorite Christmas music, as well as a jazz vocalist friend of mine, I am also singing a solo after the reading of the Magnificat and just prior to the sermon, "Breath of Heaven" also known as "Mary's Song" which Amy Grant originally performed. I hope I can get through it without tears tightening my throat and closing off my voice.

The particular phrases from the song that get me are "I am frightened by the load I bear" and "do you wonder if a wiser one should have had my place" and who among us --especially us pastors-- hasn't asked ourselves that question? Yet, Mary will then say in the song, "but I offer all I am/for the mercy of your plan." And later, yet before Jesus was actually born, Mary's hope will bloom full blossom in the Magnificat, where her confidence in God --not in herself or anything else-- will be expressed. Here's a teen-age unwed mother, likely a peasant girl, way low on society's totem pole, whose inexplicable pregnancy makes her even more of a social outcast than she was, who says "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name....He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty."

O God, would that we all could say "yes" to you and your will with the simplicity and confidence of Mary ...


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