Light and life to all he brings (31-12-2020)
Carol Hark the herald angels sing (Charles Wesley 1707-1788 and others)
… Hail the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings;
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King.
In our reading today Mary’s soul erupts into poetry as she looks to God her Saviour in preparation for the birth of Jesus.
As we sit on the cusp of a new year, we meet God who turns our world’s values upside down to reveal his light and love to all.
Reading (Luke 1:46-55)
And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants for ever, just as he promised our ancestors.’
Reflection (by Jonathan Bryan)
In Mary’s poem and today’s carol we don’t read much of comfort. Rather we experience the palpable joy of worship, followed by the vision of God throwing the values of our broken world upside down to reveal his revolutionary plans for his kingdom.
This is not comfortable. But, when we reflect on the past year, I doubt many of us have had a comfortable year riding the Coronavirus storm. For God’s comfort does not come from a lofty distant height, but from his light and life breaking into our mess to demonstrate a better way.
As we look back on a year where our world was turned upside down, we can decide again which values we are going to prioritise going forward into 2021. How can we lift up the lowly, fill the hungry and remember mercy?
During lockdown I regularly shared posts with the hashtag #ThankfulNotFearful. The poem of our lives needs to start from a place of thankfulness – and of praise.
Who do you know who is anxious about the coming year?
What can you do to bring them light and life?
Lord of light and life, as we prepare for a new year, fill our hearts with praise and hope as we, with you and one another, seek to bring your kingdom to our world.