Sounds of Iona – Christmas 2022, January 2023

Ruth Harvey offers a blessing from the nativity, and a hope from Mary, in this season of turning:

At this time of turning…

we give thanks for all who in and through community bring deep delight and compassionate courage to a world sorely in need of both.

At this time of turning…

when so many live in fear, we give thanks for the words of the angel: ‘do not be afraid.’

At this time of turning…

may the song of the angels stir you;
may the guile of the shepherds ground you;
may the commitment of Joseph bind you;
may the courage of Mary embolden you;
may the wisdom of the seasoned ones enliven you;
and may the gift of the child
birth generosity, love and peace in your heart and through your hands
today, tonight, and through all your days and your nights,

‘But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.’ (Luke 1:30)

At this time of turning….

as we reach beyond advent towards Christmas, and as we turn the corner of the year, hear these words as from the voice of Mary, on angels, fear and fearlessness – and hold in the light all those this year and next who live in fear. May they; may we know the love of God within, the hope of Christ without, and the peace of the Spirit that surrounds all through the most troubling of times. Amen

“Birth didn’t scare me.

It was the talk of others’ fears
that shook me.

I didn’t think I was afraid.

Then I heard their stories –
grown men who work dark nights,
comforted by angels: ‘do not be afraid.’

I didn’t think I was afraid.

Then he shared his dream –
my beloved,
reassured by visions: ‘do not be afraid.’

I didn’t think I was afraid.

Then they said:
‘do not return home.’

And now, I am afraid…

…I fear for this child and our lives,
on the run, uncertain, fleeing,
the fear-driven,
recklessness of those
unprepared to trust;
unsure of
their place.

In these uncertain times
I choose to remember
that the fear of those
lost in reckless power
is overturned
by the magnitude of the love
our God has for us,
and that we in turn,
at times of turning,
share with one another.

And so I return to my fearlessness,
and trust in the angels who said:
‘do not be afraid.’”

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