Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mary, Woman of Promise

I haven't blogged in so long that I've kind of forgotten how. No reason, just out of the habit. Oh, and December happened. You know.

I started a post tentatively called "every single thing I've done in the last 5 weeks," but all those stories about Christmas movies I've been watching (it's just not Christmas until I've heard "Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!"), trips to the ER for asthsma treatments (tiring but fruitful), visits from my mom (wonderful but...well, just wonderful!), and The Weather (what I usually say, which is "there's no reason to talk about the weather in Seattle because it's always 43 degrees and either raining or not raining, end of conversation" is suddenly SO NOT APPLICABLE. Snow! Wind! Power Outages!) - anyway, all those stories added up to something that read like your least favorite cousins' Christmas letter, so I deleted the post and thought about giving up blogging altogether. Catching up was just too daunting.

Instead of writing, I went dorking around some other blogs, and found this meme where you open the first book you see to page 123, and post the fifth sentence, and then the next 4 sentences after that. "I can do that," I thought.

Uncovered under a pile of papers, the only book on my desk at the moment: The New Century Hymnal. There's not exactly page numbers, but hymn #123 happens to be an advent hymn, one about Mary that I'm pretty sure I've never sung.

It's not just that
1. the theme is totally appropriate to the season, OR
2. there was just this big article in the UCC News about how Protestants are reclaiming Mary (which quoted only former Catholics - hmm, a topic for another time), BUT
it's also the way the sweet words seemed to resonate completely with What I Needed to Hear right now about just exactly what it means to be a woman of faith. In light of possibly big changes that are looming in the distant but see-able horizon for me and my family it felt almost like that freaky thing where you go to the Bible, open it at random and any verse you point to will totally clarify your current situation. It's like magic, or the movement of the Holy Spirit, or at the very least a really fun game.

And I realized, how can I stop blogging now? The world must know of this song! So although it doesn't follow the rules of the meme exactly, I'm including the words to the hymn in its entirety here. (You might want to hear a horrible midi of the tune.) Thanks Mary Frances Fleischaker - you are rocking my end-of-advent world tonight.

Mary, Woman of Promise
Mary, woman of the promise
Vessel of your people's dreams:
Through your open, willing spirit
Waters of God's goodness streamed.

Mary, song of holy wisdom
Sung before the world began
Faithful to the Word within you
As you bore God's wondrous plan

Mary, morning star of justice;
mirror of the Radiant Light;
In the shadows of life's journey
Be a beacon for our sight.

Mary, model of compassion;
wounded by your offspring's pain:
When our hearts are torn by sorrow,
teach us how to love again.

Mary, woman of the gospel;
humble home for treasured seed:
help us to be true disciples,
bearing fruit in word and deed.

This picture of Mother Mary can be found in India and here.

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