December 15, 2008

Magnificent Magnificat

On Friday night I officiated a wedding for a Baptist bride and a (nominally) Episcopalian groom. It was a small affair, something like 30, counting me, and it offered an opportunity for some interesting conversation as everyone, EVERYONE, waited for pictures to be finished. One conversation we had surrounded the use of Latin in the church, and I was forced, once again, to admit my low churchmanship and my general aversion to all trappings Roman.

But upon my reading this morning, I remembered that there is at least one historically high church tradition that I hold dear, the Magnificat. The Magnificat is the Song of Mary from Luke's Gospel, and I love it. I think I like it so much because of its distinctive blue collar feel. It is a low, high church tradition. It is the mind-bafflingly beautiful response of a young, like really young, woman who has just been told she will carry the Son of God.

As a good Jew, Mary does not keep the focus on herself, but looks back through Salvation History and knows that the promises of the Angel Gabriel on God's behalf will come true. Its poetry, even in English, is beautiful, and while I can only call her The BVM with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek, she is, in this moment, surely blessed.

4 comments:

Scott Petersen said...

The seeds are being planted. There is a high churchman in you yet! As you wrote today (I think) "nothing is impossible with God." :)

spankey said...

Nothing is impossible with God - and so he will help bring the end of robes and smells and bells despite the desperate hanging on of his people. ;-P

Merry Christmas Scott

cj said...

And yet - the service that I have growing the fastest is a mid week "contemplative service" that includes literally dozens of candles, incense, and meditation bells. Only God knows what will feed his people. He will make room for everyone.
Merry Christmas to you both.

spankey said...

You caught me in my own churchmanship CJ. My emerging tendencies lean toward the use of candles and incense, just in ways that are less pretensious than one sees in a typical high church service.

Thanks for correcting me CJ, and I'm glad to hear your contemplative service is showing growth. Blessings this Christmastide.