15 August is celebrated in many traditions as the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Rev Dr Michael Paterson took the music in Luke’s Gospel, and the Magnificat in particular, as the theme of the sermon to the St Margaret’s congregation from which this post has been extracted.
When our backs are to the wall and all looks grim, one of the most unexpected and transformative things we can do is sing! Sing out our protests for sure, but also sing out our faith and sing out our hope that tides will turn and blessings will return.
Hope comes into its own when we find ourselves up against the impossible and we can’t fix them on our own. Hope is what we do when we cling by our finger nails to a God who can free the exile, let the slave run free, bring an end to war, and bring down the walls that divide us.
And if you want to learn the lyrics of hope, look no further than the Magnificat – Mary’s song – a song about a world which is about to turn. We heard it in today’s gospel, and we’ll sing it again at the end of the service. But right now I invite you to join me in singing a contemporary version of it called ‘The Canticle of the Turning’:
- let’s sing it today with the people of Plymouth after the shooting,
- let’s sing it with the people of Afghanistan fleeing the Taliban,
- let’s sing it with the people of Greece caught up in the fires,
and let’s sing it with Mary and Elizabeth and with people, everywhere, longing for the world to turn.
Listen to the song we sang and read Rory Cooney’s contemporary version of the Magnificat:
Do read the whole of Michael’s sermon at this link.