December 11, 2022
Saying Yes to Sacred Space
The pregnancy of Mary is connected to the promise of justice and joy in the readings this week. Mary’s womb becomes a sacred space for the gestation of grace that moves into, and is transforming, the world. We will ponder the spaces we inhabit at home, work, and community, asking whether they are feeding, nurturing, and reflecting the freedom and joy that is so desperately needed. Hear this first reading:
Isaiah 35: 1-10 (NRSVUE)
Reader: The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and shouting.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be opened; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp; the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The Word in Music - Choir
(Lay Reader move to pulpit as choir or band moved to their seats)
Luke 1: 46b-55 (NRSVUE)
Reader: And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.
Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name; indeed, his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his child Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”