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Summary: Without Songs we would burst; Jesus agreed, & said so to the Pharisees. Great works of God have always been accompanied by joyful song. Do you enjoy praising the Lord, or just enjoy singing, there is a vast difference, as few can do both, read on ….

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Word Count: 2370

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 Romans 16: 25-27 Luke 1: 26-38

Summary: Without Songs we would burst; Jesus agreed, & said so to the Pharisees. Great works of God have always been accompanied by joyful song. Do you enjoy praising the Lord, or just enjoy singing, there is a vast difference, as few can do both, read on ….

This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 18th December 2011: by Gordon McCulloch

(A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Please join me in my prayer. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer at this time of studying your word, and indeed always. Amen (Ps. 19:14)

Our Gospel reading is taken from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 1, verse 26 to 38: “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.

And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her”.

Introduction:

Have you ever noticed what a large part the singing or the speaking of songs has in Christian worship? Yet this aspect is quite rare in religions like Hinduism or Buddhism, where religious devotion is done mainly through prayers, mantras or philosophy; and Atheism has no songs at all … they have nothing to sing about!

I think that without Songs we would burst. Jesus also agreed, and said so to the Pharisees in Luke 19:37- 40: “And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out”.

The works of God have always been accompanied by joyful song. Look at the creation where Job tells us in Job 38:4: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” and verse 7 “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”?

Look also at the redemption of the Hebrews from slavery in Exodus 15:1: “then Moses and the Israelites sang this song unto the Lord. I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously”.

And when the new creation was about to be born, when Christ came into the world, Luke records us that song was bursting forth all over the place.

Now the period surrounding Mary’s song were days when there hadn’t been much singing, in fact there hadn’t been much spiritual activity around for over 400 years. The temple was formal to say the least, and the priests were hypocritical, the psalms continued to be chanted, and in the words of RS Thomas they were ‘worrying the carcass of an old song.’

But here and there, godly people felt something was about to happen. For example, an angel appeared to the old faithful priest Zechariah; and an old woman called Elizabeth who was about to have a son; and now, the most amazing of all, a young peasant girl, Mary, received an angelic visitation that she will have a child supernaturally implanted, divinely conceived; the Son of God.

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