Updated: Nov 19, 2021
The Sound of Advent is the Voice of Women
It was around this time last year that I read a quote by Cole Arthur Riley (who posts beautifully on Instagram as @blackliturgies) that said:
‘I find delight and beauty in the silence of the men in the Advent story. Zechariah can’t speak. Joseph doesn’t speak. While the words of Mary and Elizabeth are centred. The sound of Advent is the voice of women.’
This quote has been one that I have thought about many times over this last year. Especially its final sentence: 'The sound of Advent is the voice of women.’ And this sentence becomes our theme and inspiration this Advent time.
Taking the words of Mary’s Magnificat, we invite you this Advent to explore with us some of the voices of the women who carried the story of Advent. Primarily focusing on Mary and the words she declared in her Magnificat we will look at the ways in which Mary not only announces a birth, but also the inauguration of a new kingdom.
With powerful words, that ring out more like an anthem than a folk song, Mary declares in her song that God has chosen sides and he sides, not with the powerful, but the humble. Not with the rich, but with the poor and people on the margins. Not with kings and rulers but with an unmarried teenage girl. As Rachel Held Evans wrote: 'The stunning claim of the incarnation: God has made a home among the very people the world casts aside. And in her defiant prayer, Mary, a dark- skinned woman, a refugee, a religious minority in an occupied land, names this reality.’
This Advent series very much follows on from our next Soul Talk conversation on November 27th, where Liz Shercliff will focus on Mary and ask the question that Mary asks of Gabriel: “How can it be?”
How can it be that the mother of Jesus, the woman who made the Incarnation possible, goes from being ‘the servant of the Lord’ at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, to having nothing to say at the end? How can it be that a woman favoured by God, and who announces God’s new reign is reduced to meekness and mildness in our Christmas carols? Liz will introduce Mary to us at Soul Talk, a disciple and a prophet, as well as the mother of Jesus, and will then begin our Soul Talk Advent series on the 29th November.
Along with 20 other writers, this Advent series will focus on the words spoken by Mary in Luke 1: 46 – 55 and it will also look at the stories of the women mentioned in Matthew’s Genealogy – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba and also Elizabeth and Anna, key characters in the Christmas story.
I will write a little more about this next week but in the meantime, if you would like to listen to the voices of the women who carried the story of a Saviour and a new kingdom this Advent then please sign up below to receive the posts to your inbox each day.