Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)
Working in a bureaucracy, I almost every day complete pointless tasks that do little to improve my working conditions or improve the process for anyone with whom I work, but someone, somewhere in the hierarchy wants to see that product so they know we are doing our job. I do the task because I am expected to do them, often with little attention to detail and never with any enthusiasm. I go to work every day because of the real work I do, the connections I have with those in my workplace and the difference I am able to make in their daily lives. The bureaucratic tasks never reflect the relational connection that is the center of my work.
The Jews, in Jesus’s time, experienced the same thing with the prescribed offerings and sacrifices demanded by the law. The covenant between God and the Jews obliged them to do certain things to maintain their relationship with him. That lack of connection between the act of offering and the relationship with God was pointed out by the author of Hebrews quoting Jesus. Christ recognizes that there was no pleasure in doing the obligated work because it was required rather than something done as a part of maintaining a relationship.
The Luke passage, contemporarily referred to as the Magnificat, narrates Mary’s joy at being the mother of the Christ. She understands her connection to God. In that connection she proclaims, “from now on all generations will call me blessed.” How incredible must it feel to be so blessed? Her exuberance is contagious. The truth is, we all have that same connection and we ALL are blessed for generations.
The difference between those bureaucratic tasks I do daily and the work I adore like the difference between the Jews of Jesus’s time and his mother comes from the difference between obligation and connection. We share the fortune of Mary to be connected directly with the work of God in the world around us and have the opportunity to be blessed daily in that work as we live with him. That connection makes all the difference in the world because it radiates from love that goes from God to humankind to God. As members of God’s body we celebrate that love like no other and this fourth Sunday in Advent gives us the chance to reflect on it directly.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org