23 Dec – When it all goes wrong #adventbookclub

It’s typically British nearly Christmas weather here this afternoon – the rain is lashing down and the wind is rattling the windows. We may dream of a White Christmas, but reality is often more grey.  I may be more up to date with my reading but my candle is still a few days behind…..

The reading today is the Magnificat, the song of praise that Mary sings when she and Elisabeth meet in all their expectant (morning-sick?) glory. Or even (as Maggi points out) the song that Elisabeth sang – early manuscripts differ.

“My soul will magnify the Lord” sang the woman – and we say or sing it each evening as part of evening prayer. It’s easy when things are going well – Praise the Lord! It’s harder when we are falling apart. And yet, it is part of the prayers that every ordained person in the Church of England must say, every day.  Words have power. There are days when I do not feel in the mood to magnify the Lord. But saying the words connects me with the other times I have said them, the times they have bubbled up and overflowed out of me.  When I am unhappy, they pull me to happier times. And the converse is true too, when I am full of joy, I am reminded of the difficulties of life, and pulled to pray for those whose lot is consistently of suffering in body, mind or spirit.

Let us magnify the Lord together, whatever our state, and love each other as we do so.

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2 responses to “23 Dec – When it all goes wrong #adventbookclub

  1. It’s a lovely prayer – I tend towards BCP Evening Prayer the words mean the same but the more traditional setting seems to suit my need.

    I was set a discipline some years ago of doing daily prayer and have tried to keep it up. In the main I do morning prayer and sometimes omit evening prayer, I don’t have the obligations of clergy, but the discipline is good for the very reasons that you describe.

    No matter how we feel about life or events, just joining in brings you into that great communion of saints who’ve faithfully said or sang the prayer down the centuries.

    I tend to see that as a stream of prayer, streaming continuously from us to God, through Jesus Christ (our great intercessor) and back through the holy spirit to us as Grace and empowerment. A circular system that I have no evidence for, but just a feeling that worship isn’t always a one-way experience and that God returns our love for him with knobs on (to coin a phrase) through grace, which shapes and melds us into the person he knows that we can be.

    The other comfort is that even when troubled as I was yesterday, is that the prayer and psalms will always have something to say to us, even if we’re repeating them mechanically – and a word or phrase will hang around waiting for us to see their meaning.

    And in some way this is a mystical experience, not in a Ghostly sort of way, but that joining with others through prayer, whether alive or dead seems to be a plan which we can join in with and be part of the living body of Christ any time we think of him, praise him or even when we might curse him. Now there’s a gift to ponder on.

  2. Words have power, absolutely: out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. I liked the bit at the end about being reminded of joy when we are down, and reminded of sadness when we are joyful. Bit like at parents’ evening: we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

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