I’m a sucker for any hymn that uses the hymn tune Truro as it brings back fond and happy memories of my days at the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City and the hymn “O Life That Maketh All Things New.” The lyrics to this one, though, are highly appropriate for Advent.
Form a lectionary standpoint this belongs on Advent 2, but it’s still Advent nonetheless.
From a VOCES8 recording session for their album, Equinox.
Sunday is Advent 2
Come, Come, Emmanuel, the TAFPC Choir
Yesterday’s Gospel lectionary reading was the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, Luke 1:39-45. When we read in Luke about that journey we don’t think much about it.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
Tradition says that that Mary and Elizabeth were somehow related, perhaps cousins. But as Pastor Kathleen pointed out yesterday morning, this was an extraordinary, probably unheard of, journey. First, Mary was likely a teenager. Luke 2 tells us that Joseph went from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem for the census. So Mary must have been in Nazareth with her husband Joseph when she set out. As the quote above tells us, Elizabeth and Zechariah lived in the hill country of Judea, outside of Jerusalem, in the South of the former united kingdom of Israel. Remember that Galilee is in the North, in the region then still known as Israel. That would have been quite the journey for Mary. Fifty miles at least, Kathleen said. And as she pointed out, not only did Mary not have a driver’s license, but there weren’t any cars then anyway.
So why, Kathleen asks, after hearing from the angel the news that she we would be giving birth to the Messiah, would Mary have made such a journey when she no doubt had relatives in Galilee to whom she could talk, and probably a BFF or two there as well. Kathleen suggests that Mary wanted to talk to someone who would “get it.” The much older Elizabeth conceived in a miraculous manner as did the young Mary. Elizabeth would get it.
Kathleen went on to say that we all need someone to talk to in our lives who will get it. I’m fortunate to have people in my life I can talk to who will get it. My wife Terry, certainly. Definitely my spiritual director. My brother and sister-in-law for certain things and my dad for others.
I hope you have that person or those people in your life as well.
Clare College Choir, Cambridge