Magnificat at the River

I head down to the river with Grace after a long absence...We can no longer stay away - the deep longing to commune with this river and be embraced by its healing waters calls us...

My soul is singing and proclaiming the first verse of the Canticle of Mary - over and over again - like a mantra:

"Magnificat anima mea, Dominum..."

"My soul magnifies, glorifies, and proclaims the greatness of the Lord.
My soul rejoices in God my Savior,
For he has looked upon the lowliness of his servant,
and henceforth, all generations will call me blessed."

I lose myself in the middle of this river, chanting over and over again - "Magnificat anima mea Dominum" - my soul and essence saturated with the vibrations of a special rendition of this canticle - from a Cantata that was sent to me by a very special soul - the mother of a dear friend. I wrote about this Cantata in my August 30th entry and how I was deeply moved by watching the performers and listening to the exquisite compositions.

This Cantata, titled The Birth of Christ, by Arthur T. Miller was first aired at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, in August of 2006, and featured Protestants and Catholics singing together for the first time since Handel aired his Messiah.

I am drawn to listen to the pieces on the mystery of the Visitation and the Magnificat over and over again. I am filled with the sacred poetry of this canticle which has always been special to my heart and soul. I have sung many different variations as a liturgical musician, and it has always spoken very deeply to me. In graduate school, I wrote an exegetical paper on Luke 1:46. The insight comes that I have delicately woven strands of the Magnificat - into the fabric of my life throughout the decades.

I reflect also on the timeliness of this Advent Message I receive in the mail from United Theological Seminary, where I did my doctoral work, two decades ago:

"Mary and Elizabeth, two pregnant women, magnify God's truth that in birth is the hope of the world - hope for God's mercy to be shown from this generation to the next, for God's justice to be manifest in exposing the corruption of power, lifting up the vulnerable, and satisfying the hungry, hope for God's peace to be realized among the nations.

In Advent, we give birth to hope, again, to see what God might accomplish among us."

And, I am also filled with so much sacred music as this time of the year - classical, liturgical, and contemporary pieces. I cannot envision praise and worship without music, and remember my college music theory teacher - who was also a mentor to me - sharing that as a child she asked her mother if there was music in heaven - for if there wasn't - she did not want to go!

Musical notations waft in and out of me while I pray on this river, and mingle with the songs of flapping fish, the wind, and blue herons skipping on the water's surface...

I give thanks in this river for everything - for the changes, the challenges, and the gifts of this year - for each contains the gift of a sacred lesson.

I give thanks for all of the new students who found me this year - we have become one in a shared practice and as a new growing community...

I give thanks for the music flooding my spirit, as I proclaim again, and again:

"Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord"

I share this, from the Advent Devotions - Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace:

"As we listen to the songs of the season, let us pay attention to those voices that like the prophets are calling us to live a better way - a way that does not follow death and his friends. With boldness, let us join in the ancient song of turning swords into agricultural instruments, turning death into life."

Prayer

"Fill us with your songs of life, O God.
Help us to see what you are doing
to bring about peace and grant us
courage to join in with our small part. Amen."
- Rev. Hardy Kim

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