|Image by Richard Walker|
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Six months later, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman named Mary; she was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. Upon arriving, the angel said to Mary, “Rejoice, highly favored one! God is with you! Blessed are you among women!” Mary was deeply troubled by these words and wondered what the angel’s greeting meant. The angel went on to say to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You’ll conceive and bear a son, and give him the name Jesus. His dignity will be great, and he will be called the Only Begotten of God.
(Luke 1: 26-32a TIB)
A MEDITATIVE VERSE
And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
God speaks to each of us as God makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
- from Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
by Rainer Maria Rilke
VERSE OF THE DAY
By my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body.
|"Annunciation" by David Bonnell|
Today’s reading immerses us in the moment in which Jesus is first named. There is no invitation or request, but a firm, clear, message: here’s what is going to happen. In her hymn of acceptance, known as the Magnificat, Mary says that her soul ‘magnifies’ the Lord. The Greek word here is one that means ‘to enlarge’ or ‘make great’. There is also a nuance that this greatness is expressed not just as an activity of the soul, but also in the ‘making greater’ of her body to carry Jesus. Twelve verses later, the word is used again to describe God's compassion toward Elizabeth, after the birth of John, who will become the Baptizer. God's compassion is ‘made large’. In Philippians, the word appears as Paul describes his hope that Christ now and always will be exalted ‘in my body’, in either life or death. To say yes to God, is to offer your whole self, body and soul. One way that we can make Jesus large in our daily lives, is to ‘magnify’ God’s love in our care for others. We can use our own bodies in very simple ways, to feed, to serve, and to provide. In today's music, we hear “Love, the guest is on the way”. The refrain changes after each verse, “love, the rose”, “love, the bird”, “love, the star” and “love, the Lord” are on the way. Love, the Lord is on the way even though Jesus has always already been here. What is coming, day by day, is our readiness to magnify him in our own lives. Throughout the coming days of Advent, through the birth of Jesus and the days of Christmas until the star brings the Wise Ones from the East, we will explore stories in scripture in which the love of God has been ‘made great’ through actions of hospitality. As you start to think about your own plans for the coming weeks, how can you invite Jesus to become a part of your preparations? How will you make room for him at your table and in your heart?
|Image by Michael Levine-Clark|
LC† Love, the Guest is a project of Lutherans Connect, supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. To receive the devotions by email, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The devotional pages are written and curated by Deacon Sherry Coman, with support and input from Pastor Steve Hoffard, Catherine Evenden and Henriette Thompson. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter. Lutherans Connect invites you to make a donation to the Ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". Devotions are always freely offered, however your donations help to support extended offerings throughout the year. Thank you and peace be with you!