Advent Four, Year C

Musical Reflection
You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King

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Invocation

God made known
in the friendship of women,
the word of greeting
and unseen life enwombed:
give us the courage
of the young mother
who brings into the world
a song of joyful revolt
and a God who needs her love;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is to come.
Amen.
First Reading
Magnificat

by Eleanor Wilner

When he had suckled there, he began
to grow: first, he was an infant in her arms,
but soon, drinking and drinking at the sweet
milk she could not keep from filling her,
from pouring into his ravenous mouth,
and filling again, miraculous pitcher, mercy
feeding its own extinction . . . soon he was
huge, towering above her, the landscape,
his shadow stealing the color from the fields,
even the flowers going gray. And they came
like ants, one behind the next, to worship
him—huge as he was, and hungry; it was
his hunger they admired most of all.
So they brought him slaughtered beasts:
goats, oxen, bulls, and finally, their own
kin whose hunger was a kind of shame
to them, a shrinkage; even as his was

beautiful to them, magnified, magnificent.

The day came when they had nothing left
to offer him, having denuded themselves
of all in order to enlarge him, in whose
shadow they dreamed of light: and that
is when the thought began to move, small
at first, a whisper, then a buzz, and finally,
it broke out into words, so loud they thought
it must be prophecy: they would kill him,
and all they had lost in his name would return,
renewed and fresh with the dew of morning.

Hope fed their rage, sharpened their weapons.

And who is she, hooded figure, mourner now
at the fate of what she fed? And the slow rain,
which never ends, who is the father of that?
And who are we who speak, as if the world
were our diorama—its little figures moved
by hidden gears, precious in miniature, tin soldiers,
spears the size of pins, perfect replicas, history
under glass, dusty, old fashioned, a curiosity
that no one any longer wants to see,
excited as they are by the new giant, who feeds
on air, grows daily on radio waves, in cyberspace,
who sows darkness like a desert storm,
who blows like a wind through the Boardrooms,
who touches the hills, and they smoke.
Second Reading
Magnificat in Little
by Léonie Adams
I was enriched, not casting after marvels,
But as one walking in a usual place,
Without desert but common eyes and ears,
No recourse but to hear, power but to see,

Got to love you of grace.

Subtle musicians, that could body wind,
Or contrive strings to anguish, in conceit
Random and artless strung a branch with bells,
Fixed in one silver whim, which at a touch

Shook and were sweet.

And you, you lovely and unpurchased note,
One run distraught, and vexing hot and cold
To give to the heart’s poor confusion tongue,
By chance caught you, and henceforth all unlearned

Repeats you gold.

haunted_l1_z
Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56

Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”

Mary said,

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
    In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
    Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
        because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
    He shows mercy to everyone,
        from one generation to the next,
        who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
    He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
        and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
        remembering his mercy,
    just as he promised to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.

 

Musical Reflection
I Got a Boy and his Name is John by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

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Prayer
by Mary Goergen OSF, adapted

Be praised, our God,
by butterfly and dragonfly wings exercising
for their first flight.
Be praised by lightning and thunder causing spring showers.
Be praised by the silent voice of grass growing and trees budding.
Be praised by all the colorful flower trumpets of spring.
Be praised by downy feathers freshly dried on newly hatched ducklings and chicks.
Be praised by the songs of birds, crickets, and frogs.
Be praised, our God, by all your creation which tells of new life.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Source of the Radiance,
dancing in and about all-that-is,
Shine forth into the depths of our beings,
and enkindle there the flame of thy essence.
Grant that it may blaze forth
and fill us with its searing creativity,
Until, fully united with thy fiery desire,
light pours out from us, taking form.
May we be revitalised each day
with nourishment for body and spirit,
And be liberated from all that oppresses us,
as we struggle to mend the fabric of our world.
Let us not be enmeshed in the nets of illusion,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For from thee shine forth
the precepts, the sustenance, and the generative fire,
from centring to centring. Ameyn.

 

Musical Reflection
Family Business by Kanye West

 


Blessing

May the Maker’s blessing be ours,
encircling us round
above us
within us.

May the angels’ blessings be ours
and the joy of the saints
to inspire us
to cherish us.

May the Holy Child’s blessing be ours,
the wine and the water,
the bread and the stories
to feed us
to remind us.

May the Spirit’s blessing be ours,
the wind, the fire,
the still small voice
to comfort us
to disturb us.

And may we all bless each other –
a blessing rooted in our common pilgrimage,
the blessing of friends.

May the blessing of God – the Creator, the Human, and the Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

sherman35

Sources:

Artwork by Cindy Sherman

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King

Poem Magnificat by Eleanor Wilner

Poem Magnificat in Little by Léonie Adams

Musical Reflection I got a Boy and his Name is John by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Prayer by Sister Mary Goergen

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Family Business by Kanye West

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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