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.


  1. Nathan - I contrasted Mary's words with the Beatles' song in "Let it be". Your post fills in the picture even more. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous9:04 PM

    In a nice way, you need to make a correction. It was Abbey Road not Sgt Pepper that was recorded after Let It Be. Therefore, the last studio album was Abbey Road. Peace

  3. Thank you anon. I don't know what I was thinking, but you are certainly correct.