The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St Mark Church in Norman, OK
August 15, 2002
Revelation 11:19-12:6 + 1 Corinthians 15:20-27 + Luke 1:39-56
Song, Prayer, and Scripture weave together to make this Feast. In some ways, they all three boil down to a lot of words: words sung, words spoken, words heard.
As a result, I’m not sure we can really get the point. It’s almost as though there is simply too much here, certainly too many words. Words of John in the Book of Revelation,
words of Paul in First Corinthians, words of Luke in the Gospel, all trying to awaken in us the Spirit and Faith of this woman whose faith and trust in God changed the face of the earth.
Luke weaves together a string of texts from the Psalms, and he puts them in the mouth of this young Hebrew woman in the story of her visit to Elizabeth.
It is a chapter filled with extraordinary poetry when words and images dance with life and promise. Among those words, leaping from the psalms come ten words that say it all,
that give purpose, meaning, and motive to our assembly today. They are the reason why we are here today at noon and not having lunch at mid – day on a Thursday in August.
They are the reason we are here tonight and not at home clearing the supper table. They are the reason why we are here, in Norman, Oklahoma.
They are the reason for all that we do. Many of us have learned by memory ancient prayers and sacred words that have the power to turn our minds to God.
The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Prayer before meals, the Act of Contrition, the Creed, the Memorari, the Angelus, and the list goes on into cultural traditions. Late in my life, I learned another prayer, Mary’s prayer, more authentic, more deeply rooted in our Jewish/Christian tradition than any of the others.
It is prayer the Church lifts up to God every evening of every day. It is the test of this day’s Gospel. If you haven’t learned it, begin today. If it seems too long to learn quickly, then get one verse and go from there. Get it right, and say every day. Simply speaking those words should pull us to our knees in humble gratitude, or bring us to our feet in wild joy. The one verse that captures the spirit of the whole prayer is the reason we are here today or tonight, the reason we have come to sing, to pray, and hear the Word of God………………
“God who is mighty has done great things for me.”
If anyone asks you why you went to church today: Or why you go to church every Sunday, Why you give, why you pray, why you sing, why you have hope, or joy, there is only response.
It is the reason for this day, for this season, for this place: “God who is mighty has done great things for me.”