Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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A Modern Magnificat

A few weeks ago I got to preach on Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) for the first time. This has long been one of my favorite passages of scripture, with its swelling sense of praise for the way that God works in the world – by elevating the people who are most rejected and stepped on by the powerful.

As part of the sermon, I wrote an updated poem of praise based on the structure and themes of the Magnificat. I share it here because Mary’s message is a message that we all need to hear, in words that can penetrate our lives and our hearts. May it sing in your heart today.


The deepest part of us echoes with the truth that God is great, and our deepest source of joy is that God has claimed us as God’s own beloved people.

For God has seen us – really seen us – in all the ordinary smallness of our lives, in all the ways that we feel less-than, or ignored, or rejected, or even stepped on;

And God has changed our identity: instead of unimportant nobodies, serving the interests of more important people, we are God’s chosen and blessed witnesses who get to bring Jesus into the world!

God did not do this because we did anything to earn God’s special attention, but because this is who God is: God, the Holy One – the One who is completely above and beyond – chooses to call and to bless the unexpected people.

This is who God has always been, from generation to generation, from Abraham to David to Mary to us.

God has always been the true source of power, disrupting the plans of the people who are impressed by their own strength. God has a pattern of siding against the people who want to set themselves up as the ones in charge, and instead God lifts up the people on the margins – saying that their voices matter.

God’s way of working in the world is to notice the people who are hungry and poor, the ones who have been crushed under the feet of important people and powerful interests, and to invite the destitute and rejected people to eat at God’s table, where their physical and spiritual hunger can be satisfied.

But the people who did the crushing and already have more than they need? God has nothing for them.

This is the pattern God has followed all along, because every time the world rejects God’s plan, God remembers the promise made to those who came before. God remembers that God’s way is the way of mercy. It was true for Abraham, and for those who went before us in the faith, and it will be true for us and for our descendants. Forever and ever.


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Poem – the lesson of a snowflake

close up photography of snowflake

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

What is the lesson of a snowflake?

this fragile, frozen traveler

that wends a path from heaven to my feet.

Is its flight a happenstance?

Or might it be a messenger,

an envoy sent to teach me some eternal

or ephemeral

truth?

Perhaps it comes to teach me aught of beauty.

To draw me into reverent contemplation —

a frozen moment of breath-catching awe —

at MAGIC

crystallized in tiny spires of ice

that catch and play with quiet winter light.

Such power woven through so delicate an incarnation.

 

Or else, it might be teaching me of structure.

Of how the rules of physics

and molecular arrangement

can build with purpose, even in most frivolous display.

How order

in the wild chaos of a grey and cloudy sky

can even mighty nature tame

for my soul’s solace and delight.

 

But what of the most minuscule of flakes?

The germ or column bare of decorative arms?

The insubstantial chip of ice that barely merits notice

or inclusion in the family of frozen beauty?

The tiny missile that is gone

almost before it meets the chill warmth of my shivering skin?

What lesson can this disappearing flake of snow convey?

 

Why, this small bit of snow is the most wise and telling of my teachers.

For in its briefest life it carries a reminder,

that while the winter may be coming,

the warmth of life can always melt the cold.