Can you believe that this Sunday will be the Last Sunday in Advent?! and traditionally we in liturgical churches have focused on Mary, and the song she sung when she was visited by her cousin Elizabeth, and “the child leaped within her womb.” The text of the Magnificat is taken from Luke 1:46-55: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For you, Lord, have looked with favor on your lowly servant, From this day all generations will call me blessed; you, the Almighty have done great things for me and holy is your name.
Sunday’s music will repeat this theme over and over. I will begin the service by playing a Magnificat setting by Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654); during communion, I’ll play J. S. Bach’s “Meine Seele erhebet den Herren,” (the German translation of the Magnificat) from the Schübler chorales, and for the postlude, it will be Bach’s “Fugue on the Magnificat,” BWV 733. The LCH Choir will repeat Kenneth Leighton’s “Magnificat” from the Second Service which was last sung at the Advent Procession. A carol, “Hail blessed Virgin Mary,” will be sung during communion.
Just prior to the “Magnficat,” in Luke’s gospel is the story about the Annunciation, described in Luke 1:26-38. This is the account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to announce that she would conceive and bear a son. I can’t help but remember with a smile December of 1992 when the Crosier family was in England and attending Lessons and Carols at St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square in London.
The lector read this passage: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
At this point in the service, a homeless woman called out in a loud voice: BECAUSE YOU ARE GONNA GET LAID . . . BY THE HOLY SPIRIT !
That was a service we will never forget!