The Song of Faith Luke 1:39-55

This season of the year is filled with great music. Yes, we bemoan Christmas music blaring over shopping store speakers in October. Yet the music is in us. We can’t seem to help singing our favorite carols in the privacy of the car. Perhaps we hum a stanza or two at the office desk. This is a great time for the music of Christmas. In tune or not, we sing out unabashedly. We simply can’t help ourselves. The music is in us. All the way to our souls.

This is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The reading turns to Mary. She is singing what is the song of faith. The words aren’t about Santa, Rudolf or even Little Drummer Boys. The words are about what God has done for her and the implications for the world. These implications aren’t that God will make us great again, or that we will be powerful, or that the world will look to us in awe, or that our cultural preferences will be established as dominate over others. The song of faith Mary sung from the depths of her soul was not about what we deem of value.

Mary’s song of faith was how God had embarrassed the boastful claim of our lie filled wisdom, brought down those walking the marbled halls of power and filled the soul with what corporate tax breaks won’t satisfy. God shunned these to choose her – a young Jewish woman under Roman oppression and from a town not even worthy of a modern day stop sign. The child she would soon give birth would bring salvation which wasn’t some far off event: the day of the Lord when the reign of God is fully established. Salvation is in the here and now whenever the lies and power and wealth are also shunned for what Jesus embodied.

Mary’s song of faith was about what God has done, is currently doing and will yet accomplish in the child she was carrying. The joy empowering her lungs was that the Lord had chosen her, one of the world’s lowly to bring such a blessing.

So much great music this time of year! What song carries the faith that fills the depth of your soul? Sing it loud!


Babies, Bath Water and Weeds Matthew 13:24-43

I have always heard the phrase, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Maybe you have too? A couple years ago, I learned from where it was derived. Years ago when getting water wasn’t as easy as turning the faucet handle, the family would use the same water on bath night. Yuck!! The baby was the last to get washed. So when the dirty water was tossed out the door, you get the idea. Today we use the phrase to highlight the importance of not tossing aside what is valuable when discarding the unwanted.

I think this relates to the parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to a farmer planting wheat. Good seed was used but weeds (planted by the enemy) came up with the wheat. The workers wanted to pull out the weeds but the the farmer stopped them. In the hurry to yank out the weeds, wheat would be pulled out as well. Better to wait when the harvest comes and then sort the weeds out.

We have a lot to learn from Jesus’ parable. We are divided as a people. We argue (and much worse) over something as simple as the wearing of masks. The thought of labelling “those people” as a bunch of “weeds” could be a mild characterization of what we really think about them. This is what Jesus was warning about because of the damage and harm that could be done. We need to understand our place.

Jesus is the farmer planting the good seed. The world is the field. The angels do the sorting at harvest time. Notice, we don’t do the sorting, the judging or the reaping. Our judgment is too tainted by prejudice. Our evaluations are insufficient for the purpose. The risk of harming each other is too high. Those who a part of the kingdom of heaven are simply too valuable to be tossed aside in our rush for human standards for righteousness.

Here the good news gets to be heard. We aren’t judged by others but in the mercy of Christ. Such mercy comes in a love expressed on a cross. This kind of mercy allows life to grow in the world even among the weeds.

The world is divided and we are a part of the problem. Yet with the mercy of Christ, the kingdom of heaven does bring life to its fullest. Remember we live by grace. Something for us all to be thankful. So the next time one of those “weeds” are spotted keep in mind the phrase, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”