Lexegete™ | Year B | Mark
December 14, 2008
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126 (3) or Luke 1:46b-55 (52)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Prayer of the Day
Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that,
anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Alleluia. I am sending my messen- | ger before you,
who will prepare your | way before you. Alleluia. (Matt. 11:10)
1a. Context: John 1:6-8, 19-28
The gospel lesson for today describes two interviews with John in which he explains
that he himself is not the foretold messiah nor is he another “Elijah.” It seems clear
from the gospels that John did not have a full understanding of the meaning of Jesus’
coming. So it should not surprise that his followers or supporters might misunderstand
his role or his connection with Jesus. Some who accepted the role of Messiah for
Jesus also claimed that John was a kind of “Elijah” who looked to the coming of the Day
of the Lord, the day of judgment (cf. Malachi 3:1, 4:5). The reference to Elijah in
Malachi 3 describes as the “malakh” or messenger of the Lord, who was coming to
cleanse the priesthood of which he himself was a member , teacher and keeper of the
sacred Torah. Ultimately he is expected to serve as a reconciler turning the hearts of
the fathers to the children, in other words making peace among the various groups
emerging within Jewish religion and culture (cf. Jubilees 23:16ff.). Prophetic
eschatology associated various signs of the times with the return of the prophet Elijah
to preach a message of repentance before the “great and terrible Day of the Lord.”
Such signs include the turning of the sun to darkness or the moon to blood, portents
which according to Joel 2 were to impel persons to repentance.
It seems odd here that John the Baptist disavows the priestly claim to be another
“Elijah” since elsewhere that title appears conferred on him by Jesus (cf. Matt. 17.10f.;
Mark 9.12, Matt. 11.7f.; cf. Luke 1.17, Mal. 4.5f., Sirach 48.10). Possibly this has
something to do with the unique way in which John relates Jesus and the Baptizer.
In the synoptics, John is arrested and cast into prison before the onset of the public
ministry of Jesus. In John, however, Jesus begins his ministry before the arrest of John.
John, however, uses the prologue to clarify this relationship, thus avoiding any possibility
of confusion between Christ and the forerunner (1:6-8). That this confusion is not
only possible but actually occurred is shown by the fact that Herod believed that Jesus
might be a John the Baptist resurrected: “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised”
1b. Text: Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28
Jn. 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He
came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 1:8 He
himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.....
1:19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and
Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 1:20 He confessed and did not
deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." 1:21 And they asked him, "What
then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No."
1:22 Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who
sent us. What do you say about yourself?" 1:23 He said, "I am the voice of one
crying out in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' " as the prophet
Isaiah said. 1:24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 1:25 They asked
him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the
prophet?" 1:26 John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one
whom you do not know, 1:27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to
untie the thong of his sandal." 1:28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan
where John was baptizing.
6εγενετο ανθρωπος απεσταλμενος παρα θεου, ονομα αυτω ιωαννης:
7ουτος ηλθεν εις μαρτυριαν, ινα μαρτυρηση περι του φωτος, ινα
παντες πιστευσωσιν δι αυτου. 8ουκ ην εκεινος το φως, αλλ ινα
μαρτυρηση περι του φωτος.. ..
19και αυτη εστιν η μαρτυρια του ιωαννου, οτε απεστειλαν [προς
αυτον] οι ιουδαιοι εξ ιεροσολυμων ιερεις και λευιτας ινα
ερωτησωσιν αυτον, συ τις ει; 20και ωμολογησεν και ουκ ηρνησατο,
και ωμολογησεν οτι εγω ουκ ειμι ο χριστος. 21και ηρωτησαν αυτον,
τι ουν; συ ηλιας ει; και λεγει, ουκ ειμι . ο προφητης ει συ; και
απεκριθη, ου. 22ειπαν ουν αυτω, τις ει; ινα αποκρισιν δωμεν τοις
πεμψασιν ημας: τι λεγεις περι σεαυτου; 23εφη, εγω φωνη βοωντος εν
τη ερημω, ευθυνατε την οδον κυριου, καθως ειπεν ησαιας ο
προφητης. 24και απεσταλμενοι ησαν εκ των φαρισαιων. 25και
ηρωτησαν αυτον και ειπαν αυτω, τι ουν βαπτιζεις ει συ ουκ ει ο
χριστος ουδε ηλιας ουδε ο προφητης; 26απεκριθη αυτοις ο ιωαννης
λεγων, εγω βαπτιζω εν υδατι: μεσος υμων εστηκεν ον υμεις ουκ
οιδατε, 27ο οπισω μου ερχομενος, ου ουκ ειμι [εγω] αξιος ινα λυσω
αυτου τον ιμαντα του υποδηματος. 28ταυτα εν βηθανια εγενετο
περαν του ιορδανου, οπου ην ο ιωαννης βαπτιζων.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. Analysis: Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28
vs. 7 - hina martyreisei peri tou photos - as a witness to the light
vs. 9 - photizoo - to give light, illuminate or shine light -
vs. 19 - hereus - priest
vs. 20 - homologeoo - to confess, agree to ; vs. 20 - arneomai - to deny
vs. 22 - apokrisis - answer
vs. 23 - ephei - to declare or say ; vs. 23 - boaoo - to cry
vs. 23 - ereimos - wilderness or desert ; vs. 23 - euthunoo - to make straight
vs. 26 - streikoo - to stand ; vs. 26 - oida - to see or know
vs. 27 - aksios - worthy or fitting
vs. 29 - epaurion - tomorrow, the morrow
vs. 29 - ide amnos tou theou ho airoon tein hamartian tou kosmou - behold the lamb
of God who takes away the sins of the world
For the Fourth Gospel the emphasis is not limited to the role of the Baptist as
forerunner or prophetic figure or non-light (vs. 8). It also is inclusive of John’s role as
witness (martyrion) to the light “so that all might believe through him.” Next the
evangelist explains exactly how the Baptist witnesses to the light by describing his
testimony when asked the question “Who are you?” (cf. Jn. 8:25 and 21:12). It is
tempting to see in these question a deeply psychological probing, but John’s answers
are rather matter-of-fact. He tells his questioners whom he is NOT. He is neither the
anointed messiah nor Elijah nor the prophet of old (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15ff.). Rather
he is the " voice of one crying out in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the
Lord..’ “ In short, he is both herald and forerunner, one who comes before that One
who is yet to come. On the other hand, this form of Johannine questioning clearly
resembles the famous “ego eimi” sayings of Jesus which appear throughout John. The
main difference is that the “I am” sayings of John the Baptist take the form of “I am
NOT” sayings, in which John unequivocally refuses any of the titles which are reserved
to the Lord.
The Baptist has abruptly appeared in the Fourth Gospel--coming almost out of
nowhere. It seems self-evident that the evangelist felt compelled to clarify John’s
relation to Christ, probably for the benefit of his surviving disciples apart from the rest
of the Christian community. It is worth noting that the arrival of the questioners is not
supported by the synoptic gospels, yet it is not incompatible with similar passages in
Mark 1:5 and Matthew 3:7, both of which note tension between the Jewish leadership
and John the Baptist. The uniqueness of John’s approach here is underscored by his
term “priests and Levites” which appears nowhere else and which is more specific in
tone that the term for “the Jews” usually mentioned in John’s gospel. That John the
Evangelist has in mind something clearly Jewish in origin in this passage is reinforced
again in the phrase the “Lamb of God who takes away sins of the world.” Though a
liturgical term evoking the Paschal lamb for Christians today, the Agnus Dei is more
likely understood by John the Baptist to be the Suffering Servant foretold in Isaiah 53:12
(cf. John 12:38).
3. Strategy: Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28
One of the most frustrating challenges of the Advent Season is the continual
back and forth, the ebbing and racing flow of time which flows through the season
pulling us forward yet pushing us back to the Ancients with the force of an undercurrent
and riptide. The result of this is that some worshipers are almost confused and
befuddled by the meaning of the season, a confusion obviously reinforced by the
“realized eschatology” of the marketplace, where St. Nicholas arrived months ago.
Now, to some extent, this is harmless enough. For those of us in the Church,
the coming of John the Baptist is but the penultimate phase in the emergence of the
ministry of Jesus Christ. But the important point is not OUR “mood” of
“expectation” or OUR “waiting”( probably the most overworked among the many
Advent themes). The focus is primarily upon John’s “mood,” John’s “waiting,” John’s
“expectation.” And that mood comes close to the one expressed later by Jesus in
(cf. John 3:27-30). The best we can do is speculate about the the personal
understanding John had of the meaning of Christ’s coming. Yet there is this poignant
mention which implies that he saw himself as one who could let go of his own
importance in order that another one might and grow.
From a purely human standpoint, this seems almost to be the vantage point of a
nurturer, a mothering figure. It may strike us as odd that the the “mothering” one here
is not Mary, but John. For we have been over our lifetimes conditioned to think of him
as a sort of wilderness wildman. This “masculine” approach seems to come naturally to
us as Americans, with our history of Cooper’s Natty Bumppo, history’s Daniel Boone,
the Disney version of Davy Crockett and more recently the character “Sully” on
television’s “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Perhaps the danger in this is that we
settle for this “masculine” forerunner and yet often settle as well for a non-masculine
Jesus. In these latter days of “politically correct” theology, this has become even more
sensitive an issue than ever before. Yet we should not be afraid of the way in which
tends to move in its own unique way between genders.
Without question John’s story is intimately intertwined with that of Mary
through his mother Elizabeth (cf. Luke 1:5-45). Thus it should not surprise us if John
appears as one who can say, as every mothering figure has spoken through actions (or
even words): they (my offspring) must increase, and I must decrease. This is a form of
nurturing which is not necessarily gender-bound. Think of the father of the lanky
teenage son who gradually hands off favorite pieces of his wardrobe to the next
generation in the family. Or the mother who gives up some special treasure in order
that her daughter (or son) might have an especially wonderful time of growth and
development. We make sacrifices, we do. They may not be “sacrifices” as our Lord
would have us understand them, yet we may be “letting go” of something in ourselves in
order to make room for the growth of another person. Ultimately, the mother is the
purest symbol of this in her allowing the new child to actually dwell inside her body,
making room for her in the womb. It is symbolic not just of giving up one bit of
physical real estate for another (as often wrongly stated in the abortion debate) but a
very literal letting go of some aspect of one’s self and ego in other that a new self might
emerge. Again, this is not strictly a matter of gender. A good parent, ought to have the
gift of nurturing, caring and giving of themselves.
Some decades ago James Dittes of Yale Divinity School wrote a remarkable book
on what he termed the “Male Predicament.” In it he spoke of the phenomenon of
“frozen Joseph” among in the church. He described to the usual role of Joseph in the
local parish Christmas pageant as one who merely stands, almost paralyzed and
immobile, in waiting for Mary and the child. The image is a striking one, for in so many
ways it fits hand and glove with the role which we in the church often hand on to the
next generation of young boys and young men. Often they see little place for
themselves in the activities of the church. What a far cry from an earlier era when
“men’s clubs” and “guilds” and “dartball leagues” and all the rest of the social trappings
of maleness made for a church which was far more in keeping with hymns like “Rise up,
O Men of God!” and cetera. The point here is not misogyny or to turn back the clock
of patriarchal religion. The point is that there IS a place for both the “wild man” John
the Baptist in our faith as well as the one who is so very unassuming and accepting of his
role as one baptizing with “mere” water, in anticipation of “the one who comes after
me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” Perhaps in the simple tying
and untying of the shoes of a little child we have the image for this text and this day and
for all our endless waiting for Christ. It is an image which fits with the mothering,
fathering, parenting, or in other words the adult nurturing role of him who will one
day “decrease” in order that another might increase and grow. It it an image which fits
hand and glove, shoe and stocking with the tried and true image of a John the Baptizer,
one both waiting and witnessing in word and in deed.
4. References: Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28
Brown, Raymond. An Adult Christ at Christmas. Collegville, Minn.: Liturgical
Brown, Raymond. A Coming Christ in Advent. Collegeville, Minn. Liturgical
Dittes, James. The Male Predicament. New York: Harper and Row, 1983.
Mann, C.S. Mark. Anchor Bible, vol. 27. Garden City,NY: Doubleday, 1986.
5. Music Suggestions: Jn. 1:6-8, 19-28
Many of the suggestions from Advent 2 carry over, along with some new ones:
Comfort, comfort now my people (LBW 29, HB 67)
Creator of the Stars of Night (HB 60)
Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding (LBW 37)
Hark, the Glad Sound (LBW 35, HB 71/2)
Herald, sound the note of judgment! (HB 70)
Lo! he comes, with clouds descending (HB 57-8)
O Lord, How Shall I Meet You (LBW 23)
Once he came in blessing (HB 53)
On Jordan’s banks the Baptist’s cry (LBW 36, HB 76)
Prepare the royal highway (LBW 26)
Prepare the way, O Zion (HB 65)
The Advent of our God (LBW 22)
The only son from heaven (LBW 86)
There’s a voice in the wilderness crying (HB 75)
What is the crying at Jordan? (HB 69)
Exegete - David Buehler, Ph.D., teaches on Ethics, Violence, and Food
at Providence College in Rhode Island, and has edited Lexegete™ for two decades.
© 2008 Tischrede Software
Dartmouth, MA 02747-1925
Lexegete™ | Year B | Mark
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 21, 2008
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:46b-55 (52) or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 (1)
Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that
would obstruct your mercy, that willingly we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and
reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Alleluia. Here I am, the servant | of the Lord;
let it be with me according | to your word. Alleluia. (Luke 1:38)
1a. Context: Luke 1:26-38
John, Mark, and Matthew wrote of that which they
had seen with their eyes, or touched with their hands.
Luke did not. He, the Greek physician wrote as a
historian/reporter. He alone among the gospel writers uses
the pronoun "I" when assuring Theophilus his account is
orderly and taken from those who witnessed the events.
He addresses Theophilus as, the “most excellent,” a title
given to high officials of Rome. Scholars have found Luke's
introduction to be the finest Greek in the New Testament.
Perhaps equal to his writing skills was his ability to
listen. Luke the doctor, was one of those few, who listen
another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery.
It is impossible to think of Luke simply taking notes as
a passing reporter might lo. The intimate disclosures
brought about in conversations with the Blessed Mother,
Mary could only have happened because he was a dear friend
and disciple of Jesus.
1b. Text - Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee
named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed  to a man whose name was Joseph, of
the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and
said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  29 But she was greatly
troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with
God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall
call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will
reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the
power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born 
will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her
old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was
called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said,
“Behold, I am the servant  of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
And the angel departed from her.
 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married
 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women!
 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man
 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you
 1:38 Greek bondservant; also verse 48
26εν δε τω μηνι τω εκτω απεσταλη ο αγγελος γαβριηλ απο του θεου
εις πολιν της γαλιλαιας η ονομα ναζαρεθ 27προς παρθενον
εμνηστευμενην ανδρι ω ονομα ιωσηφ εξ οικου δαυιδ, και το ονομα
της παρθενου μαριαμ. 28και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν, χαιρε,
κεχαριτωμενη, ο κυριος μετα σου. 29η δε επι τω λογω διεταραχθη
και διελογιζετο ποταπος ειη ο ασπασμος ουτος. 30και ειπεν ο
αγγελος αυτη, μη φοβου, μαριαμ, ευρες γαρ χαριν παρα τω θεω:
31και ιδου συλλημψη εν γαστρι και τεξη υιον, και καλεσεις το
ονομα αυτου ιησουν. 32ουτος εσται μεγας και υιος υψιστου
κληθησεται, και δωσει αυτω κυριος ο θεος τον θρονον δαυιδ του
πατρος αυτου, 33και βασιλευσει επι τον οικον ιακωβ εις τους
αιωνας, και της βασιλειας αυτου ουκ εσται τελος. 34ειπεν δε
μαριαμ προς τον αγγελον, πως εσται τουτο, επει ανδρα ου γινωσκω;
35και αποκριθεις ο αγγελος ειπεν αυτη, πνευμα αγιον επελευσεται
επι σε, και δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι: διο και το γεννωμενον
αγιον κληθησεται, υιος θεου. 36και ιδου ελισαβετ η συγγενις σου
και αυτη συνειληφεν υιον εν γηρει αυτης, και ουτος μην εκτος εστιν
αυτη τη καλουμενη στειρα: 37οτι ουκ αδυνατησει παρα του θεου
παν ρημα. 38ειπεν δε μαριαμ, ιδου η δουλη κυριου: γενοιτο μοι κατα
το ρημα σου. και απηλθεν απ αυτης ο αγγελος.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. ANALYSIS - Luke 1:26-38
The Annunciation is the subject of many genre paintings. In such masterpieces we
find Mary alone with the angel Gabriel. However, others portray the virgin alone. All
such paintings surround her with clothes and furnishings of the day. This is as it should be for certainly the announcement from God's messenger to Mary must and does speak to every age.
Some genre artist's have Mary praying, reading the scriptures, or busy
doing some household chore. In his characteristically picturesque style Martin Luther
speaks about Mary's encounter with the angel in this way:
“Quite possibly Mary was doing the house work when
the angel Gabriel came to her. Angels prefer to come to people
as they are fulfilling their calling and discharging their office.. ..
It is possible, however, that the Virg in Mary who was religious,
was in a corne r praying f or the re demption of Israel. During
praye r also angels are wont to appear.”
As far as the Bible is concerned, Luther is right. God did communicate
with people via heavenly messengers as they were going about their
appointed business. We today might consider all this charming but some
what difficult to imagine. So it is. And so it was.Mary was alone by
herself when the angel came. She was alone not only as the angel
spoke to her but also in her situation in life. She was without a husband
to bring the angel's answer message to completion. It is no wonder that
Mary was startled and gave voice to her bastonishment.
" How can this be," she asks, " since I have no husband?" The
angel's answer recalls verses from the book of Genesis. "The Holy Spirit
will come upon you,”the angel declares, " and the power of the Most
Highwill overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called
holy, the Son of God.”
Genesis begins: " The earth was without form and void, and
darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was
moving over the face of the waters. (Gen:lb-2) The Spirit of God moved
over darkness and the void to create the heavens and the earth.
" Out of nothing, out of the void, God creates." In this manner no
creature can work; no creature can produce something out of
nothing," Martin Luther remarks. Genesis and Luke's gospel tell us
that Mary's child would be a new creation, God once again working
as at the beginning to conceive something new.
Mary was God's instrument for this purpose. She was favored for
this awesome role over all others. Daily she must have emptied
herself in prayer before God. This is what, humanly speaking,
allowed God to send forth his son. Paul looks at the world at the
time of the birth of Christ as having been prepared by God for the
coming of the Anointed one. Included in that preparation was Mary
herself. Favored by God, Mary's soul was receptive to the
Holy Spirit, and through the Spirit she became the first to receive
the Christ of God. By her yes to God she is able to conceive,
as Luther says so well in one his sermons on the nativity:
“Wherefore St. Bernard declared there are three miracles here:
that God and men should be joined in this child; that a mother
should remain a virgin; that Mary should have such faith as to
believe this mystery would be accomplished in her. The last is
not the least of the three .... Had she not believed, she could not
have conceived. She held fast to the Word of the angel because
she had become a new creature.”
Martin Luther viewed the Old Testament tabernacle
as an illustration for the soul of the Blessed Mother. The tabernacle
contained the Holy of Holies, a room without windows and thus
totally dark. God's dwelling place was a place where no physical
light appeared. The image suited Luther. "God", he declared,
"dwells in the darkness of faith ." The soul filled with faith believes
"that which (it) neither feels nor sees no comprehends." Such a soul
Mary possessed. In spite of all that stood against it, she believed
what the angel promised. "Let it be to me according to you word,"
she murmured. "Let God be God!" Mary the creature, by faith let
God create. The crown of all creation was the fruit not only of her
womb but of her obedience.
3. STRATEGY- Luke 1: 26-38
The most familiar texts are often the most difdifficult
and challenging to preach. The use of the
Genesis text along with Phil:2-5 (Kenosis) may offer
a new vantage point for seeing how God works in the
faith-filled believer. Mary's preparation may be in
sharp contrast to our preparation. How much to d~ we
obstruct God's power in our lives by what we do? Also
a contrast may be made by the rush and burdens we place
on ourselves by preparing for the holiday season rather
than quiet preparation during Advent for the most Holy
day of the year, Christmas. Luther's tabernacle illustration may
lead to thoughts about what it means to enter into the"darkness of
faith" Why do we fear this state of being? A sharp contrast
with the world of noise, glitter of T.V. ads and the hustler centers
we call "our Malls". How far have we been led astray from the
faith of Mary?
The words of the fourth century bishop , Ambrose of Milan may
remind us that all centuries are much the same his words are
most needed today as they were then:
“You are also blessed because you heard and believed
the word of God.... A soul that believes both conceives and
brings forth the word of God and acknowledges his works.
Let Mary's soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness
of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each of you to rejoice in the
Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all
bring forth the Christ in faith.
1. Luther , Martin. "Annunciation." in
The Martin Luther Christmas Book, translated
and arranged by Roland H. Bainton.
Philadelphia : Fortress Press , 1948, pp.23.
2. Luther, Martin." The Magnificat."
In Luther's Works, Vol.21, edited by
Jaroslav Pelikan. St. Louis: Concordia
Publishing House, 1956, p. 299
3. Luther, Martin. " Annunciation."
in The Martin Luther Christmas Book,
Op . cit ., pp . 22-23.
5. Worship suggestions
There is a beautiful prayer for The Annunciation found in the
Book of Common Prayer, as follows:
Pour your grace into our hearts, O lord, that we who have
known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an
angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be
brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God , now and forever.
An appropriate hymn for this would be “Ye Watchers and Ye
Holy Ones.” The second stanza is actually a paraphrase
of the Theotokion, the Hymn of Mary, sung in the
early Greek church at the close of the choir office.
(cf. Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship).
Other suitable hymns include:
COME THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS (LBW 30, HB 66);
CREATOR OF THE STARS OF NIGHT (HB 60);
HARK! THE GLAD SOUND (LBW 35, HB 71/2);
LO,HOW A ROSE E'ER BLOOMING (LBW 58, HB 81),
[ particularly if the focus of the hymn is upon Mary];
THE KING SHALL COME (LBW 33, HB 73);
WAKE, AWAKE (Wachet Auf, LBW 31, HB 61/2).
HB here refers herein to The Hymnbook 1982,copyright
1985, The Church Pension Fund; and published by The Church
Hymnal Corporation, 800 2nd Avenue, New York,NY 10017.
LBW hereafter refers to the Lutheran Book of Worship, copyright
1978, Lutheran Church in America, The American Lutheran Church,
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, and The Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod; and published by the Augsburg Publishing
House, Minneapolis, MN and the Board of Publication, Lutheran
Church in America, Philadelphia, PA.
Exegete: Elaine Koenig of Cromwell, CT,
is a well-known Lutheran writer and lay
theologian, having written, inter alia,
MARY'S SON-MARY'S LORD: Meditations
on the Gospel Witness to Mary the Blessed
Mother of Jesus (1990) as well as
The Three Gardens of God and Others along
the way (2002).
Her most recent writing describes her personal
experience as part of a pioneer ministry
in the Hospice movement in Amherst, MA
(the Pioneer Valley, titled The Future Hope,
The Present Joy: Jane’s Story (2008).
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