Radical Song

Rueben Job writes,

Mary’s song of praise must have been a shock-even to Elizabeth and surely to everyone else who heard it.  It bordered on treason and blasphemy and must have left every adult who heard it angry, confused, embarrassed, surprised, curious, or frightened.  And it could be that all these feelings were swirling around in the ears and minds of those who heard this message of radical revolution.  (A Guide to prayer for all who seek God, 35)

Here is a link to Mary’s song.

Have you considered the radical nature of Mary’s song?  How might this be heard today and who might be singing?


God’s Song

Donald Heniz writes,

The New Testament set Christ’s birth to music.  Christ was music:  the early church called him God’s song (Christmas: Festival of Incarnation, 192)

Linda introduced our series, Making Sense of Christmas, in worship on Sunday.  Here is the video played as part of her message, Hearing Christmas:

Hearing Christmas

Donald Heinz writes,

As the church kept reading or hearing the Gospel stories, it aspired to turn into them, to become a community worthy of its founding narratives.  After early centuries of hearing these Christmas accounts, there developed the religious festival of Christmas in the lived experience of Christianity.  Rehearing Luke in a churchly context today recenters the original story.  In the performance space of the church, the story resonates differently:  Mary’s womb is like the tabernacle housing the eucharistic bread; the Holy Spirit who came upon Mary is the one who still troubles the water of the baptismal font’ the community wants to be the manger that now houses the baby; banners, vestments, and great art model the divine-human synergy authored by the Incarnation. (Christmas: Festival of Incarnation, 13-14)

What do you expect to hear during this season in church?  Do you have a musical memory of a time in church during this season?


Songs of Christmas

Donald Heinz writes,

The Gospel writer of Luke interrupts the action several times with sung reflection, just as arias in Handel and Bach piously comment on the action narrated in historical recitative…..Then Mary breaks into song.  The opening words “My soul magnifies the Lord” (1:46), give the song its enduring Latin name, Magnificat.  Contemporary scholars set this song among the lowly who look to God for divine favor to raise them up.  The radical lyrics sing of scattering the proud, brining down the mighty and lifting up the lowly, of filling the hungry with good things while sending the rich away empty.  To keep it in the church’s mind, Mary’s song has been chanted in nightly vespers, whispered in monasteries, and set to trumpets and kettledrums by Bach. (Christmas: Festival of Incarnation, 11)

Do you recall things that are sung?  Do you remember tunes?  Do you recall more of the lyrics?  How might remembering the songs of the season build your faith?



Frederick Buechner writes,

The Word Became flesh,” wrote John, “and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)  That is what incarnation means.  It is untheological.  It is unsophisticated.  It is undignified.  But according to Christianity, it is the way things are.

All religions and philosophies which deny the reality or the significance of the material, the fleshly, the earthbound, are themselves denied.  Moses at the burning bush was told to take off his shoes because the ground on which he stood was holy ground (Ex 3:5), and incarnation means that all ground is holy ground because God not only made it but walked on it, ate and slept and worked and died on it.  If we are saved anywhere, we are saved here.  And what is saved is not some diaphanous distillation of our bodies and our earth, but our bodies and our earth themselves.  Jerusalem becomes the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven like a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2).  Our bodies are sown perishable and raised imperishable (1 Cor 15:42).

One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.  (from Wishful Thinking by Frederick Buechner)

As we move toward the first Sunday of Advent, where do you see the the Incarnate God being born into the world?


Run to Feed the Hungry

Thankful for all the folks who joined us at church this morning for Run to Feed the Hungry!  Such a great way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday.  25,000 people ran and walked to support the Sacramento Food Bank!