Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mary and the Beatles

I've been doing reading a lot about the Beatles this week. I was clued into a good slant on the annunciation and the magnificat in preparation for the sermon this Sunday by the Ekklesia Project
Actually, the lectionary doesn't include the annunciation, but I wanted to include it since it is actually when Mary says "Let it Be," and it worked better for where I was going. But, down one of the tangential paths I typically meander when doing sermon research, I found what I think is going to be a great tool: Songfacts. There is a youtube clip of Paul singing the song there, and you can watch all of the Let it Be documentary (both it and the album Let it Be were released after the Beatles broke up, and Abbey Road was actually recorded after Let it Be, so it is typically considered their last album.) on Youtube. So, I'll treat you to the Ethiopians cover of the song, which is also great:

Anywhoo--I noticed on the songfacts page that John Lennon was so put out by what he considered the overt Christian symbolism of the song, that he made sure it was followed on the album by Maggie Mae, which was about a Liverpool prostitute. He also referred to "Let it Be" as "Angels we have heard on high." Paul, apparently wasn't speaking about the Virgin Mary at all (but didn't mind the lyrics being taken however they were by the listener) but instead was referring to his actual mother, named Mary, when he wrote "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: "Let it be." His mother died when he was 14, and appeared to him in a dream when he was going through a difficult period of life. I like that the song can be interpreted into the gospel text, and we are going to focus on the song during some time of lectio divina this Sunday during the service. Questions printed in the bulletin include:
In what ways is God calling me to be a vessel for Christ? What CAN I do to be God’s servant? In what areas of my own life could I echo Mary’s words, “Let it Be?”

In what ways do I ascribe to Mary’s radical song (the Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55)?
“His mercy is on those who have feared him from generation to generation….”
“He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts….”
“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly..”
“He has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich empty away….”

You'll be able to hear the sermon or read the notes on the church blog tomorrow.

Friday, December 04, 2009

John, The Jordan, and Joshua

John baptized in the wilderness at the Jordan river. He drew people to the boundary line of Israel. Perhaps he baptized specifically at the Jordan since it was the boundary. The boundary is where you enter or re-enter. The first time the Israelites had crossed the Jordan river with Joshua leading the generations of wanderers out of slavery, God caused the river to part so the Israelites could cross on dry land. God reminded the people of the miraculous beginning of their journey at the Reed Sea as a symbol that their wandering was over.

John brought people back to the Jordan. The people of Israel needed to be washed from that journey out of slavery and wandering. Though the dry passage over the Jordan allowed the Israelites to remember their salvation, it did not afford them the opportunity to be washed of their past. The people of Israel were still living like slaves in their own land. They were wandering without a leader like Joshua. So, he washed them in the Jordan. He washed them of the residue of slavery. He poured water over their head, and got the dust of the wandering wilderness out of their hair. He proclaimed that they were free and that when they left the water of the Jordan, they were coming forth from their mother’s womb. A new Joshua would come and would lead them.

When the new Joshua came, he told his people how deeply enslavement had pervaded. This Joshua saved them from the slavery to sin and death. He led them toward a promised land that would not and could not be conquered or colonized.