“There was nothing promised that is easily imagined,
And questions of the future leave me puzzled and concerned.
I don’t know where tomorrow leads,
But his grace today is all I need;
I know his love and love him in return.
And my senses overwhelm me
When I estimate his majesty
Every fibre of my being
Joins with all creation singing
Songs of how the weak are lifted up,
Songs that tell the richness of his love.”
These lyrics come from my friend Dave Thompson’s Mary’s Song. What I loved about the song is that in it we don’t find a Mary looking back with 2000 years of hindsight. She has faith to go along with this crazy and mysterious plan of God’s and, in its absurdity and great cost for her, just trust and believe. There is also a realisation that if what she thinks is happening to her is true that she is involved in an advent that will have deep seated affect among the poor and marginalised. God’s love is on the move and she feels it in her womb. She then finds the courage to play her part and praise the one who set it all in motion.
I have been linking this Biblical song of Dave’s with one he wrote about Van Gogh, available on his debut album Newsprint Sky. This song called Dear Theo is based on the letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother. Dave paraphrases my favourite line of Frederick Buechner that I use as a near mantra for the secret of purposeful living, “where your deepest gladness meets the world’s greatest need.” Dave writes it this way: -
“This is my calling and my creed,
This is my gift and deepest need.
Where I am at my most complete,
Where earth and heaven’s best intentions meet.”
It captured Van Gogh for Dave, it captures Mary in this Advent drama for me and Frederick Buechner thinks it should be what captures us all. What are we offering God? What is our reason for living? Where is that place where earth and heaven meet in and through us?