Read this week's text, Luke 1:39-56 here.
My soul magnifies.
What is it that my soul magnifies? And what exactly is my soul? I learned most of what I understand about the soul by Thomas Moore in his book The Care of the Soul. He begins by saying "the great malady of the 20th century... is the loss of soul. When soul is neglected, it doesn't just go away; it apears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning."
As far as defining the soul. Moore says and I agree, souls prefer to imagine rather than define. Our soul is tied to things rather than defined by things. Our souls are tied to good friends, good food, meaningful conversation, honesty, trust, love, joy. And when our souls become untethered, we complain of "emptiness, meaninglessness, vague depression, disillusionment about marriage and family, a loss of values, a yearning for personal fulfillment and a hunger for spirituality." Sound familiar?
As a pastor, I hear complaints of things like this all the time. And we, me included, want to look at each of these feelings individually; we want to fix each of them systematically. And as a pastor, I remind myself all the time to dive for something deeper. Don't go after the presenting complaint. Dive deeper, find the soul, magnify the state of the soul.
Mary says my soul magnifies. My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
This right here is why this woman is so beloved. If we were to magnify my soul, I imagine that we might here is magnifying the problems before us as a society, or my soul might magnify the last unanswered problem I encountered. But is that really my soul - or are they the presenting complaints of the day? How do I dive deeper to find what it is that my soul might magnify?
How on this 4th Sunday of Advent, when there are three shopping days left until Christmas, when we need to go grocery shopping and make up the guest rooms and write sermons and make phone calls and do the laundry, how can we dive deep enough to find our soul? And how can we stay with her along enough to magnify what she might say or do?
Might I suggest a good long silence this Sunday when you are worshiping with your safe community? Might I suggest a longer than usual pause - to find stillness, to find the center of our being, to feel the spacer that is at our core. And linger there. Linger. Linger. Breathe into it, fill it with the gift of life, say hello to your soul. And then, magnify.
I smile just thinking what we might find there.
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