Canticle: The Magnificat (St. Luke 1:46-55) -or- Psalm 80:1-7
Epistle: Hebrews 10:5-10
Holy Gopsel: St. Luke 1:39-45*
*The Gospel lection is flexible as to guarantee that if the psalm is used in place of the Magnificat, the Blessed Virgin’s song of praise is still read.
Texts in Summary:
As we come to the end of Advent, we make a thematic shift. The lectionary had been pointing us ever forward to the eschaton – starting with apocalyptic imagery at the end of St. Luke’s Gospel and then with John the Baptist’s call to repentance and use of fiery imagery. Now, the RCL is putting everyone in their starting positions.
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who calls us to follow him. Amen.
In seminary, my Old Testament professor would almost always open class with a devotional prayer, and almost always that prayer was a contemporary song based on a passage of Scripture, and almost always one of two songs in particular: “Thy Word” by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith (inspired by Psalm 119) or “Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, which is largely inspired by today’s reading from First Samuel.
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You To receive the food of Your Holy Word Take Your truth, plant it deep in us Shape and fashion us in Your likeness That the light of Christ might be seen today In our acts of love and our deeds of faith Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us All Your purposes for Your glory
We were encouraged to sing along with this prayer, and I have to say, I did not care for it the first time. Or the second. Or the third. By the fourth time, I rolled my eyes. By the time my roommate started singing it in the living room, I would turn up the volume of the television to drown it out. But, what can I say, it did eventually start to grow on me – sappy piano melody and all – and now I can’t read the words Eli handed to Samuel without thinking of Dr. Strawn and a hundred seminarians singing along.