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Posts Tagged ‘angels’

Christmas in July 

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

–Luke 1:47-49

Tonight I hear a faint and lovely voice drifting through my home, accompanied by a guitar. There is an angel in my daughter’s room, singing. I never would have heard her, had I not been sitting in silence waiting for a blessing. I would like to get closer, but I find such blessings to be finicky – like seeing a doe in the front yard and wanting to get a closer look, but knowing it will run away as I approach. It will run from fear of my intentions, and only the white fluff of its tail disappearing into the woods will be visible before I have the opportunity to explain. I mean it no harm; I only desire to be blessed by its presence. Tonight, I wish to listen to the blessing of the angel without scaring it away.

I recognize the shyness of angels, because I, too, was shy when I was young and vulnerable. You see, I needed to sing. Something inside of me regularly struggled for release, and its best exit was through song. But I could only purge effectively in private. The invasion of another into my holy space made the magic of the moment disappear. I could not bear being judged in the process of becoming whole. The moment I caught wind of my mother on the stair, the music stopped. And I know it broke her heart.

My soul, magnifies the Lord!

The song of this angel is one I wrote, based on The Magnificat – Mary’s song of praise from the gospel of Luke. A Christmas song in July. A song I wrote to bless others, now returns to bless me! I want to sing along, but I fear the music will stop.

And my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, for God looked with favor on me. 

God is looking with favor on me right now. The inspiring words and music are returning to me through the voice of an angel. Oh, how I want to approach – but how to do it without making my presence known? I know it is safest to stay put and listen more intently. I find that to be the way with spiritual blessings in my life. They need space, privacy, and focus to manifest, and I must be attentive in order to receive it. Angels do not come to me with loud trumpets and raised voices as they seem to have done in biblical times. I hear them when I am silent, and when I listen for them. Shhh! The angel is singing again. Forgive me, but I need to stop typing and listen a little longer…

God raised this lowly servant high…and holy, holy, holy is the name of God!

Come home to church this Sunday. Maybe an angel is waiting to bless you there.

Greg Hildenbrand

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Life Notes—December 6, 2012 

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.  When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…”   Matthew 1:18-20a

Scripture does not tell us much about Joseph.  We know he was a carpenter who lived in Nazareth.  According to Matthew he was a descendent of King David and “a righteous man.”  We are told he was visited by an angel at least twice.  The first time was to announce that Mary’s pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit and would result in the long-anticipated Messiah.  The second came as a warning to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt, for Herod was seeking to kill this ‘newborn King.’  We know Joseph took Mary as his wife, despite her unconventional pregnancy.  And we know Joseph was a part of Jesus’ life at least until Jesus was twelve and found in the Temple, after wandering away from his parents.  Otherwise, Joseph is mostly absent from the Gospel stories.

Even though Joseph seems to be more of a bit-player in the life of Jesus, I imagine him to be a strong, quiet man, content to remain in the background of the strange saga his life had become.  It seems to me, based on the lack of evidence to the contrary, that he faithfully accepted his calling and simply fulfilled his role as best he was able.  Perhaps being visited by an angel is such an awe-inspiring event that Joseph dared not challenge the angel’s direction.  But the Bible is full of tales of others who defied such heavenly instruction.  Joseph is told to take Mary as his wife, accept the son he had no role in producing and raise him as his own.  And by all accounts, that is what he does.  Certainly, his fellow townsfolk must have talked mercilessly behind his back, for being pregnant outside of marriage was a crime worthy of being stoned.  He must have had to daily reconcile his faithfulness to God with the perception and derision of his neighbors.

And yet, most of us are called to be Josephs. Not Mary, not John the Baptist, not Jesus.  We function mostly behind the scenes, doing what we are called to do, offering our seemingly insignificant gifts wherever they seem to fit.  And God takes our combined contributions and weaves them into a Savior.  And nearly hidden in that sin-covering tapestry is a vital thread, without which the fabric would unravel; and that thread is us.

This will be the second Sunday of Advent and the sermon focus will be on Joseph. Tom preaches downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship is at 9 and 11.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Weave yourself into the body of Christ.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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