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!
So what kind of music do you like? What is the song that your heart wants to sing? Singing reaches deep into our being. We sing when we are happy. We sing the anthem before a sporting event. We sing during a worship service. Songs of justice are sung by those enslaved to inspire hope. Singing does something to us. Singing enables us to express what comes from the heart. The Revelation reading is full of song. In particular, a new song.
John is still recording the revelation that is being given to him. The One who sits in glory on the throne has a scroll waiting to be opened and read. Who is worthy to do this? None in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll. Then came a Lamb looking like it had been slain appeared and took the scroll. All of heaven burst out in song.
The living creatures and the elders bowed down and began singing a new song. Angels numbering in the tens of thousands joined in the song. Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the the sea, and all that is in them – all of creation – joined in the song. It was a new song to worship the Lamb.
The book of Revelation helps to refocus our attention upon the One who is worthy of worship. It wasn’t Rome or Caesar, or any other power at the time. The Lamb who was slain alone is worthy.
We are constantly being divided by identity. Our allegiance is demanded as Democrat or Republican, as liberal or conservative, as evangelical or none. The demand for identity doesn’t permit critical thought over who is worthy of our support, or allegiance or worship.
All of heaven and creation is singing a new song. The Lamb who was slain has done what none other can do. Jesus Christ is the Lamb. He unites us from every tribe and language and nation. His blood has given us a new identity as children of our God. He is our salvation from the sinful division. He has given us a new purpose and that is to serve God. He is worthy of our worship.
So as we find ourselves ever more divided for the sake of power. Remember who is worthy. Sing a new song.