Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Advent Message: "Learning Your Song"

As we prepare to celebrate the advent of our Lord Jesus’ birth, I’d like to share with our Shepastor friends excerpts from a message the Lord birthed in me a few years ago.

Be blessed, learn, sing and live your song!

Sermon Text: Luke 1: 42-55
Sermon Subject: “Learning Your Song”

Mary’s Song (1: 42-49, NIV)

46And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.

Luke’s Gospel presents Jesus as the universal savior who came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke gives special attention to despised and rejected people such as tax collectors, other gentiles, women and children. In our particular text for today, we have what is commonly called the “Magnificat.” The term is derived from the Latin phrase, “My Soul doth Magnify the Lord…” Let me share with you some thoughts about the Magnificat…,

Mary is overwhelmed by news from the angel that she would be the mother of the savior of the world – Jesus, the Christ.Commentators suggest that Mary's hymn expresses praise to God for his treatment of her, but then extends her praise to how God has treated the righteous throughout the ages and how He will vindicate them fully in the future. Understanding what God is doing, Mary is full of joy. She speaks for herself and for her community, the people of God throughout time. She declares that God is worthy of praise for what He will do in taking care of his own.

Mary’s song is power and significant, since first-century culture often relegated women to a secondary status. One of the beauties of Luke's infancy material is that different sorts of people all experience joy at the arrival of Jesus. This reveals Jesus' universal appeal.

The Magnificat was Mary’s song. Mary was filled with joy and awe over what was about to be birthed in her. She had been visited by the angel and the declaration had been made. Her response was profound – not just the beautiful words of her song, but before her conversation with Elizabeth, in verse 38, Mary declared, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Mary heard, believed and accepted what God was going to do in her life. From her acceptance, the Lord gave her a song.
We too have a song, given to us from the Lord. I’d like to share with you a beautiful and profound tradition that is held in East Africa called, The Song of a Child…

The Song of a Child

There is a tribe in East Africa
for whom the birthday of a child
is not counted from the day of its physical birth
nor even the day of conception.
For this tribe,the birthday is the first time the child
is a thought in its mother's mind.

Aware of her intention to conceive a child with a particular father,
the mother goes off to sit alone under a tree.
There she sits and listens until she can hear the song of the child she hopes to conceive. Once she has heard it, she returns to her village
and teaches it to the father so that they can sing it together as they make love,inviting the child to join them. After the child is conceived,
she sings to the baby in her womb, and she teaches the song
to the old women and midwives of the village,so that throughout the labor
and the miraculous moment of birth itself,the child is greeted with its song.

After the birth, all the villagers learn the song of their new member
and later sing it to the child when it falls or hurts itself.
It is sung at times of triumph,or in rituals and initiations.
This song becomes a part of the marriage ceremony
when the child is grown. And at the end of life his or her loved ones
will gather around the deathbed and sing this song for the last time.

Each life has a song, a theme, a chorus. Sadly, we are so hurried, so busy, so tired, so involved with other things that we don’t take the time to hear our life’s song, to learn it, sing it, live it. Your life song is that melody that, that rhythm, that assignment from on high that naturally flows through your being.

It is that which is waiting to be birthed in you. It’s like what Michael Angelo said about his great stone statues. When asked how he chisled out such great masterpieces from bits of rock and chunks of stone, legend has it that he responded, “the form was already there. I just freed it.” There is greatness within you waiting to be birthed.

Some have gone through life either never learning or ignoring their life’s song. But your song is about more than you. As Mary embraced her divinely ordered destiny, she gave God praise – not only for her divine appointment, but for what God was going to do through what she brought forth.

Your song is meant to bring hope and love and life to others. Your song is not only for your help, your encouragement, your strength. Your song is for your community. Your song is for your family. Your song is for your sphere of influence. Mary magnified the Lord for what was about to be birthed in her. She may not have understood the mixture of joy and sorrow, freedom and burden, hope and desperation, pain and pride, she would endure over the next several years, but she took what she had and ran with it.

Our song will sometimes be happy, sometimes sad, sometimes light hearted and sometimes heavy as stone – but our song – our life’s theme – our calling is meant to be a blessing. When we don’t learn to sing our own song, we go through out life feeling unfulfilled and empty.
You can’t do anything about yesterday. But you can begin to sing your song today. You can say, “behold the handmaid or the servant of the Lord –be it unto me according to thy word.” You can begin to sing your song today. You can expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.

You can begin to sing your song today. You can ask the Lord, “Lord, what is my life’s song? What would you have me to do with my life? What do you want to birth in me? How do you want to use me to accomplish a part of your plan for this world?

You have a song. Will you learn it, sing it and live it?

Have a blessed, peaceful and “song filled” Christmas and New Year.

Until next week,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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