What’s in a Name?
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Ruler God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of God’s servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.
God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation.
God has shown strength with God’s arm;
God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
God has helped God’s servant Israel, in remembrance of God’s mercy, according to the promise God made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Mary rejoices, and her joy shocks the socks off of me. She knows that Jesus, literally, is “God my Savior.” Yet I always found it a name to protect. I grew up first with not-a-second-thought about calling any kid Joshua, but… the name, Jesus? It was reserved for the long-haired, strawberry-blond man in the pastel prints. I later matured to laugh at the exaggerated way unsophisticated preachers elongated the name -- gargling it in crocodile tears – as “JEE-EZUHS .” I was still protecting that name, but not realizing that I was really protecting myself from that name. Now how I hear it makes all the difference.
Christmas in July
Up on the housetop, the sweating Mayan man
ducks in the shade of the chimney stack, slips
the blade of his shingle-shovel under the curling
asphalt edges bent in the Kentucky sun like grins
in December on children’s faces.
He flakes them off and snows them down
to gathering drifts at the foundation’s ground,
then grabs the new ones from his broken bundle
to slap upon the deck. Now give him a hammer
and lots of tacks, and let all mortal flesh keep silence
about Jesús, born to save us from such tasks.
My God, I am rich and proud and seated on my throne. The rest is clear. Help me accept in Joy your advent in a new accent, for by such intrusion you save me from myself. Amen.