This Advent season I’m writing reflections on the lectionary Gospel readings forLight Reflections and reposting them here. Please feel free to borrow and steal anything from these that might be helpful in your own Advent sermon,teaching, etc., work.
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be* a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
46 And Mary* said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Last week I wrote that the terrifying image of Jesus with a winnowing fork is a far cry from the babe in the manger who we anticipate this time of year. This week we are reminded that these two images are not so far apart at all! Whether it’s Jesus at the end of time or Jesus entering into time, the Good News is consistent – his arrival will raise those whom our world sees as lowly and it will humble those we imagine to be mighty.
In the first few weeks of Advent, we’ve mostly pictured Christ’s arrival coming from somewhere distant Continue reading
Posted in christology, divinity, theological anthropology
Tagged advent, christmas, divinity, Elizabeth, fruit of your womb, Gestating Jesus, gratitude, humility, incarnation, justice, Luke 1:39-55, Magnificat, Mary, pregnancy
Before I left for the Camino, I purchased a livingsocial deal for an overnight yoga retreat a couple of hours from my house. I wasn’t able to use it before it expired, but the man who runs the centre was kind enough to let me book my time there for after my return. This was only the beginning of the kindness I experienced in this place.
On Friday afternoon, I thought I had budgeted well for a timely arrival – I did not, however, budget time for getting lost, nearly running out of gas, a chiropractor appointment to treat a herniated disc on the way out of town running waaaaay over time, and a nightmarish amount of Friday afternoon Toronto traffic. What was supposed to be 2 hours in the car turned into 4 hours, and by the time I arrived I was in quite a state.
It’s one thing to mess up my own plans through failures of planning, but I just hate messing up other people’s plans. Continue reading
I’ve long defended praise and worship music to friends who claim it is too simple theologically. “It’s not about the theology,” I’ve argued, “so much as it’s about a meditative practice.” The reason I used to love P&W, and in surprising moments nowadays, still do (albeit with a touch of nostalgia, an emotion that never sits right with me), is its chant-like quality. There’s the possibility of losing myself in the repetition, and opening my eyes surprised to find out I’ve been swimming in the deep waters of the Divine. But in recent years, I’ve found this depth harder and harder to plum. Even so, it hasn’t been the simplicity that has bothered me, and I’ve struggled to figure out what it is that I fail to connect with.
I visited a church a few weeks ago, heavy on P&W – and all of a sudden it struck me: I can’t handle all those capital letters projected onto the screen: Continue reading
I mentioned in a previous post that I have been reading Wendy Farley’s, Gathering Those Driven Away: A Theology of Incarnation. The book is beautiful, full of gems that stimulate the imagination to theological pondering. In one section that particularly gripped my thoughts, she writes of the Christian propensity to hold our beliefs too tightly by the presumed (but erroneous) power and authority of our own knowledge. It is hubris, she argues, and I would agree, to think that we can know anything about God – the deep, profound mystery of Divinity – with any semblance of certainty. Walking by faith encompasses walking by doubt, I interpret her as saying. But she frames this relationship in a much more compelling way than I have previously heard articulated: “Instead of reifying any authority,” she notes, “we might explore faith as our capacity to dwell in the breach between our ignorance and our desire” (42).
I loved this image: faith dwelling in the breach between ignorance and desire. Continue reading
There’s a battle in our house every Christmas. The territory is marked thusly (at least from my perspective): my husband wants to listen to CD’s of sad Irish people singing sad carols; I want to hear my Christmas sung by Motown. I guess I just feel that the Gospel should be sung in gospel style! And so, when it comes to Christmas Eve services, I tend to be dubious when a frumpy white lady gets up to sing ‘O Holy Night,’ which has long been my favourite Christmas song.
But tonight’s rendition at my in-laws’ Methodist church was perfect!
As the soloist hit the line, “fall on your knees,” she held it and her voice yearned my whole body toward my kneecaps and I found myself wanting to hit the floor. Continue reading