Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent 4

Finally home! On Jan. 3 I return to the icy unnamed institution of higher learning. Today's readings were Micah 5:2-5a, Hebrews 10:5-10, and Luke 1:39-56 (sermon text).

In today's Gospel is Mary's Magnificat. Here are three questions about it...
  1. What is it? "Magnificat" means "magnifies," praise to God. Mary sees both the personal (at the beginning) and the bigger (at the end) picture. In the text is a confession of who God is and a reflection of a life steeped in Scripture--she borrows from several Psalms.
  2. Why does Mary give it to us? God was gracious to her. He broke into her life of anticipating the Messiah--she would bear the Christ! Also miraculously, her cousin would bear the Christ's prophet! During the visit, John recognized God incarnate, and Elizabeth praised God for His gifts.
  3. What do we do with it? We meditate as Mary did. We sing it. Why? Because faith responds to God with song. Paul tells us to sing the Word; God is so gracious to us that sometimes we cannot sing for tears. Singing is double prayer--with our minds and voices we praise God! Let us therefore use song to tell, teach, and rejoice in what He has done for us, for all.
Faith sings prayers--the Lord's Prayer, Kyrie, and Nunc Dimittis.

Faith sings comfort--"Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side."

Faith sings praise--Magnificat, LSB 941 (a well-known versification of the Te Deum; the linked video features a friend of mine who is now in seminary).

Faith sings to teach--see the depths of the faith set to rhyme in LSB 555!

Faith sings to defy Satan--"A Mighty Fortress" and the Baptismal liturgy.

May we sing this Christmas not for ourselves, but for our Savior. Soli Deo gloria.

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