Christmas: Day, The Fifth

Posted December 29, 2017 @ 9:23am | by Tripp

There is no rose of such virtue..." These words have been haunting me all season long. Since Advent, really. "...as is the rose that bear Jesu." It's a charming bit of music and a telling bit of theology. There's no one more beautiful than the God-Bearer. There is no virtue greater than what she displayed in her willingness to bear God into the world, to carry, birth, and raise the burbling incarnate Divinity. None. 

And one cannot separate that virtue, that ability to say yes, from all that made her and her family (see: Joseph, Elizabeth, and various others) willing companions on a most difficult journey. Finally, when all is said and done, parenting never ends. She carried him from the Cross as well. She bore her son to the tomb. This is the virtue of which we sing. This is the virtue of the mother of God. Gaudeamus. 

Jesu, Son of Mary,
Have mercy
upon us,
Amen.
Jesu, Son of Mary,
Make peace with us,
Amen.
O, with us and for us
Where we shall longest be,
Amen.
Be
about the morning of our course
Be about the closing of our life,
Amen.

Be at the dawning of our life,
And oh! at the
dark'ning of our day,
Amen.
Be for us and with us,
Merciful God of all,
Amen.
Consecrate us
Condition and lot,
King of kings,
God of all,
Amen. 
Consecrate us
Rights and means
King of kings,
God of all,
Amen.
Consecrate us
Heart and body,
King of kings,
God of all,
Amen.
Each heart and body,
Each day to yourself,
Each night accordingly,
King of kings,
God of all,
Amen.

In his ethnographic collection of prayers, Alexander Carmichel records the preceding words. His volume is full of prayers that situate Jesus' identity in the identity of Mary. He is the Son of Mary just as often as he is the Son of God. Unlike the Protestant traditions that so often wish to erase her after the Nativity, she is the ongoing bearer of Christ's identity. As a statement of Christ's relationship to humanity, this is telling. Add the Magnificat, and suddenly Mariology is a liberative strain of Christian theology which bears Jesu throughout his life, through his death, and into his Resurrection and Ascension. The King of kings is always the Son of Mary. He is always and forever birthed, human, glorified by the womb of a human being. 

Today is the fifth day of Christmas and I awoke from dreams where my grandfather visited me. We were in his old house pondering what it would be like for me to inherit it, how we might preserve a way of life that is being over-run by big box stores and widening highways. We walked down to the local gardening center and spoke to the proprietor about his failed crops of blackberries and how the old homes were being "given away" to developers for $15,000. Further down the road was another gardening center. The woman there had bins of composted seeds germinating right there in the midst of the dirt and shit. Pumpkin seeds were most plentiful. In the dream, Trish and I drove or walked about this bastion of agrarian life in the midst of expanding suburbia. I spoke again and again with my grandfather, a terse and belligerent man, about how things had changed. He was having none of it. Pappy was like that. He also had a garden out back of his house. In the dream, his famous fig tree was gone and the house was in terrible disrepair. 

I awoke from this dream pondering ordination and the geography of call and wondering if it's possible to be called to ministry only for a time and a place and then no more. 

My mind is spinning this morning from dreams of fecundity and loss. 

 
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