Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birth of Jesus Foretold, Luke

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed [2] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [3] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” [4]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born [5] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [6] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. ESV on line

Isn't that just the lovliest passage? This Advent season our whole church is listening to Handel's Messiah. We have personal devotional booklets, Wednesday and Thursday services at which the music is played, and small groups like my Monday book group, are pausing their usual order to focus on this wonderful story.

Yesterday a group from the Visual Arts Ministry drove to Akron, Ohio to visit the new museum just opened about 2 years ago, and to see "Familiar Faces:
Chuck Close in Ohio Collections." I've seen a lot of art shows in the last 50 years, but nothing quite like this. His style is photorealism based on a grid system and he uses all media--etchings, linoleium block, paper pulp, photography, finger prints in ink, lithograph, silkscreen, etc. Close works with faces, which is odd, because he has a disability that prevents him from recognizing faces, prosopagnosia, and since 1988 he has been confined to a wheelchair with very limited mobility, using a braced arm to hold his brush.

Close's disabilities require him to break down the whole into manageable parts. Handel's vision is somewhat like that. And any separate part of the Messiah is lovely. Together they are magnificient. On the way to Akron, we listed to the entire first part of Handel's Messiah. It was a glorious sunny day--a wonderful trip. On the way back to Columbus, we listened to a disc of different Handel selections.


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