God Was Here: The World is About to Turn

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And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Luke 1: 46-55

 

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Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.
~Luci Shaw from “Mary’s Song”

 

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Mary’s song (the Magnificat) is a celebration of how the glory of God causes an unexpected turning of the world:

the proud are scattered,
the mighty brought down,
the humble exalted,
the hungry are filled
and the rich emptied.

This is revolution by reversal — not good news for the high and mighty, powerful and rich — and a reminder that those with plenty have great responsibility to those less fortunate.

Yet Mary’s song sings a truth pertinent to the mission of Christ on earth:

He arrives lowly, lives humbly and dies despised.  His impact is from His words and actions, not from riches, political influence or the wielding of mighty weapons.

Her song puts a microscope on the revolution about to take place, within her and outside her, due to Christ, indeed a turning of the tainted soil of the world from the planting of the Seed of God.  His presence on earth magnifies within her as He grows in her womb, then blooms and fruits on earth, glorified in His life, death and resurrection.

Let the singing begin!

 

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My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the one who waits.
You fixed your sight on the servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

Refrain:
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.

Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me.
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.

Refrain

From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
every tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

Refrain

Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forbears heard
is the promise that holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around. 

Refrain

Words: Rory Cooney (1990)

Music: STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN (Irish Traditional Folk Song)

God Among Us: No Telling What Will Come Out

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“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 1:46-55

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On the one hand [Mary] was just a girl, an immature and frightened girl who had the good sense to believe what an angel told her in what seemed like a dream. On the other hand, she was the mother of the Son of God, with faith enough to move mountains, to sing about the victories of her son as if he were already at the right hand of his father instead of a dollop of cells in her womb. When we allow God to be born in us, there is no telling, no telling at all, what will come out.
~Barbara Brown Taylor, Mixed Blessings

___________________

Will I also allow God to be born in me, to transform my life and change me in ways I cannot know?
Will I too accept that I have no breath, no blood, no thought aside from what comes graciously from Him?Will I be willing as well to tell out His greatness through how I live and the ways I express my gratitude?

I do, I will, I want to.  Like Him, I was a dollop of cells.  Like Him, I can become so much more.
~EPG

___________________

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name–the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!
~Timothy Dudley Smith 1962

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Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you kissed the face of God.

Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Mary did you know

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A Canticle for Advent: Turning the World Around

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1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

Refrain
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.

3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.
~by Rory Cooney, Canticle of the Turning (a version of the Magnificat)

 

His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
Luke 1: 50-51

He, only He, can turn our world around with his mighty arm.  He, only He, knows how and when the turning will happen.
He, only He, came to us to save us from ourselves and will return again
as we continue to betray His Word,
as we turn away from Him even when He seeks us out from the manger and from the cross.

Advent Sings: Magnified

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
Luke 1: 46-47

Mary’s song is a celebration of how the glory of God causes the unexpected: the proud are scattered, the mighty brought down, the humble exalted, the hungry are filled and the rich emptied.   This is revolution by reversal — not good news for the high and mighty, powerful and rich — and a reminder that those with plenty have great responsibility to those less fortunate.

Yet Mary’s song sings a truth pertinent to the mission of Christ on earth: He arrives lowly, lives humbly and dies despised.  His impact is from his words and actions, not from riches, political influence or the wielding of mighty weapons.

Her song puts a microscope on the revolution about to take place, within her and outside her due to Christ.  His presence on earth magnifies within her as He grows in her womb and is glorified in life, death and resurrection.

Let the singing begin!

Advent Sings: No Other Rock

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:2 from The Song of Hannah

In her song of prayer exalting God, Hannah gives over to His care her son for whom she had waited so long.  This is a mother whose unselfishness shames me every time I read her story and her own words. Centuries later, Hannah’s devotion to God inspires a young woman visited by an angel who tells her she will carry the Son of God in her womb.  Mary echoes much of Hannah’s prayer in her own Song, turning over her life, and eventually her own Son, to God’s care.

How could any mother manage to give over her precious child if God were not the Rock upon which she can stand, upon which she will depend for eternal stability, upon which she can fall and He will not break?   There is no other like this Rock.

We are reminded by Hannah’s faith and commitment to God, again by the angel visiting Mary, and in the words of  the host of angels on Christmas–do not be afraid.  The Rock, born that night as a soft and gentle baby, like every man’s beginning, still stands and will stand forevermore.   We can depend on it.  We can depend on Him as there is no other.

Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.
Isaiah 44:8

Called to Advent–magnifying

Botticelli Magnificat

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord”…
Luke 1:46

The Incarnation allows us to see and hear and touch what we could only glimpse before in a pillar of smoke, a tabernacle, a burning bush, a still small voice. God becomes magnified in the manger with unmistakable clarity and focus. He is rocked and fed, picked up when He falls, comforted when He cries, guided and taught and loved.

What was once remote from us is now up close, magnified like a setting moon becoming huge on the horizon at dawn. He has settled among us. He has become us.


“These still December mornings…
Outside everything’s tinted rose, grape, turquoise,
silver–the stones by the path, the skin of the sun

on the pond ice, at the night the aureola of
a pregnant moon, like me, iridescent,
almost full term with light.”

Luci Shaw in “Advent Visitation”