Friday, August 15, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: St. Mary the Virgin Day

MP: Psalms 113, 115; 1Samuel 2:1-10; John 2:1-12
EP: Psalms 45 or 138, 149; Jeremiah 31:1-14, or Jeremiah 2:10-13; John 19:23-27 or Acts 1:6-14

If we look hard enough, we can find almost anything in the Bible. This exercise has been done for centuries, usually to justify some action, or as history might judge it, some misguided action. Whether it be persecution, or war, or genocide, the Bible can be a very dangerous instrumentality when bent to rationalize human conduct/misconduct. 

Today we celebrate Jesus' mother Mary. In "higher" Episcopal churches, this is a very important feast day. In those churches that have a different, perhaps a more protestant, sensibility this feast day is pretty much ignored.  In reading Morning Prayer today I was struck by a verse from the reading from First Samuel. We have Hannah's song of praise where she praises God and beautifully and graphically expresses how all things are from God. Near the end of today's selection she says for not by might does one prevail. This small phrase in the midst of some strong descriptors makes clear why this reading is part of Mary's feast day. This small phrase exemplifies Jesus' life, exemplifies his mother's life. This phrase underpins so much of what we read and see in the Gospels about how Jesus acts and how his mother acts. And how we should act. 

Although there is a lot of blood and guts stories in the Bible, this small phrase uttered by Hannah shows a different path and a different manner in which to view Scripture. God's love abounds in our lives and in the lives of those around us. A simple thing to forget in this harsh world.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved

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