My best days start with Morning Prayer.
Well, my best days are prayerful throughout, like the ancient Jewish practice of praying blessing for every action, from waking to sleeping. But my days get off to a strong, peaceful start when I take the time to step aside and speak and sing Morning Prayer intentionally.
I began Tuesday morning that way and was delighted to find that it was the feast of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I’m not really very good at keeping track of holidays, or any days, for that matter. You can ask Karoline about that. I opened my daily office book on Tuesday morning to find that wonderful celebration, that feast day that comes around every year on August 15. As I sang and prayed my way through the service, I came upon the Old Testament reading for the day, Hannah’s song, which begins:
My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
and continues to become the model of Mary’s song, speaking of how
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
So, to honor Mary this week; whom the angel named “highly favored”, the Western Church calls the Blessed Virgin and the Mother of God, and the Eastern Church designates Theotokos, God-bearer, a role that each of us takes on as well; I’d like to offer one of the most beautiful examples of Biblical poetry, and one of the most powerful.
And as headlines spin across your news feed, I’d also invite you to see how this song speaks to you and to all of us, societally, culturally, today.
Magnificat (Luke 1:46b-55):
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.