Sunday, December 20, 2015

Proclaiming God's Surprising Word

The Fourth Sunday in Advent often commemorates Mary, the mother of Jesus, for her part in the Incarnation story. Readings may come from Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation), or Luke 1:39-56 (the Visitation), which includes the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise which for centuries was taught as an example of her meek compliance and dedication to service. In our time it is more frequently considered to be a revolutionary statement about the coming reign of God, the reversal of the way things have always been and the end of injustice and inequality. With God all things are possible. An unwed, teenage mother denied a place to stay for the night becomes the means by which Jesus comes into our world, and we still remember her "yes" to the angel Gabriel today.

Shall we not love thee, Mother dear,
Whom Jesus loves so well?
And to his glory, year by year,
Thy joy and honor tell?

For thee he chose from whom to take
True flesh his flesh to be;
In it to suffer for our sake,
By it to make us free.

Thy babe, he lay upon thy breast,
To thee he cried for food;
Thy gentle nursing soothed to rest
Th'incarnate Child of God.

Joy to be Mother of the Lord,
And thine the longed-for bliss,
Proclaiming God's surprising Word
Which shall all wrong dismiss.

As Jesus loves thee, Mother dear,
We too will love thee well;
And to his glory, year by year,
Thy joy and honor tell.

Henry Williams Baker, 1868; alt.
C. H. H. Parry, 1902

P.S. - This is Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Annunciation (1475)

Three Years Ago: Praise we the Lord this day

No comments: