Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blogging toward Sunday

By A. Davey; The Virgin Mary; via Wikimedia Commons
The gospel reading for Sunday comes from Mark 13:1-8. In this text the disciples show amazement at the grandeur of the Temple. Jesus, however, is less impressed. In fact, Jesus forecasts its destruction and, in the same breath, instructs them not to worry when things go from bad to worse. In essence, Jesus says, "New life is on the way." So even though this seems like discouraging news, it's far from it.

"Good news" is certainly the theme for the story of Hannah, which is found in 1 Samuel. Hannah is unable to have children. In distress, she enters the Temple to take her request for a child to Yahweh. You can read about this in 1 Samuel 1:4-20. But the sermon focus for Sunday will deal more with what happens afterward when Hannah offers a prayer of thanksgiving because God has heard her prayer. In 1 Samuel 2:1-10 we find what is known as "The Song of Hannah." 
Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail. The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”

Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. What a wonderful text to ponder as we consider our own reasons for offering thanks to the Lord.

Soon, Advent will be upon us and we will be journeying toward the birth of our Lord. In keeping with the upcoming season, let's look at another song in scripture sung by another godly woman. Luke 1:46-55 gives us the Song of Mary, or the Magnificat, as it is traditionally known. It, too, is an offering of praise and thanksgiving.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
On your journey toward Sunday, spend some time with these two songs. Notice the similarities. What common themes do you see? Then, with these songs of thanksgiving ringing in your heart, offer up your own prayer of praise to God. After all, it is the Season of Thanksgiving!

I pray that you are having a blessed week and I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday.


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