The garments of salvation

*“…To bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor… to comfort all who mourn. To provide for those who mourn in Zion — *

*to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit…*

*I will greatly rejoice in the Lord… for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation”*

Isaiah 61

Dear friends-

It’s been said that, if we didn’t have the New Testament, the Book of Isaiah would tell us pretty much all we need to know about how God imagines that the Kin-dom of Heaven might take true, enduring root in the human community.

Then... At the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, when Mary discovers that she is to bear the Christ child, she sings,

*"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant…*

*He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.*

*He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.*

*He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."*

This song is known as the Magnificat, Latin for “[God] does great things.” It sounds as if Mary has been reading Isaiah. I’m glad that we do have the New Testament, and am always mindful that its themes are so close to those of our even-older Scripture texts. The “garments of salvation”, to use Isaiah’s lovely phrase, are those that clothe, comfort, and lift up the poor, the lost, the broken, the imprisoned. Echoing Isaiah, Mary sings her song to her unborn child, who learns his lessons well.

Maybe salvation isn’t as much about getting into heaven; it’s about creating Heaven right here.

Worship with us – as one of us. Sundays at 10 AM. Let’s sing Mary’s - and Isaiah’s - beautiful, hopeful song. We can call it “Magnificamus.” In Latin, that’s “We do great things.” With God’s help, of course. The Kin-dom of Heaven is so close. Really.

Advent Sabbath blessings-

AFP