Monday 14 December update
With many thanks to Andrew Carvel for working overtime, here is a shortened version of yesterday’s service compiled from the prerecorded elements. The prayers and readings which were live in the sanctuary were not recorded, but you can read them in the right place by downloading the order of service below.
And thanks to Mary Margaret Scott’s skills in transcription part of the Dialogue reflection – a conversation shared between Rosie and Peter, can be read below that.
Tell out my soul!
You can download an order of service at the link below.
Excerpt from the Dialogue reflection – a conversation shared between Rosie and Peter. (The middle part could not be made out on the recording, unfortunately).
Rosie: Good morning, Peter. It’s lovely to have you with us. In the beginning was the Word; I am sure you recognise those words. I recently came across another translation that said ‘In the beginning was the conversation’ and the conversation entered human flesh so that no-one would have the last word.
So Peter and I are going to have a conversation, and we hope our conversation will resonate with you to give you some thoughts. Peter will be joining us a 6 o’clock this evening to discuss what the Magnificat song has for us 2000 years after it was first spoken. Peter, what does it mean for you?
Peter: It’s great to be here, folks, and we are not doing a question and answer session; just sharing our thoughts. Right at the beginning of this bible reading are the four words we all know so well – Tell out my Soul. If we were to ask the modern person a question about soul, what would they answer? Well, we would have 50 answers here, just like Brexit – and there’s soul food, soul music. Rosie mentioned Strictly Come Dancing the other week. Well, we’ll just mention it again because one of the judges last night – and I love Strictly Come Dancing because it lifts you from all the gloom – one of the judges said ‘you are dancing from the soul’.
So today we thought we would just explore that a little together and of course you have your own opinions.
Rosie: Yes, the word soul – ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’. What do we associate with soul – soul-mates? I think it significant that Mary said ‘my soul’ magnifies the Lord, not ‘I’ magnify the Lord.
Unfortunately this section is missing as it was too obscured by other sound.
Rosie: I don’t know about you, but over these past months I have often found myself at a place where tears and joy meet. There is a saying that laughing through tears is the most honest emotion. Perhaps that is what this song is about.
Peter: What has the church been about? The church as we all know isn’t just about coming to a service on a Sunday morning. It is about the development of our humanity; about moving from the bland level of our being to something much more profound. I remember when Dorothy died 20 years ago, folk say – it’s a Scottish thing, but folk say to you – ‘you’ll be fine; you’ll get on with things’, and 20 years later I am still mourning her, and that’s because we are deep people. It doesn’t mean we can’t get on.
I think Covid has taught us many things, but it has taught us that we are actually able to put up with many things that are profound, not just the bland things – the loneliness of many people, for example. This second wave has emphasised the elements of depressive behaviour in us all, in us all. If Rosie and I were to ask you to put up your hands if you felt lonelier in the second wave, more discomfited, more disconnected …..
I think these things are little entrees into something deeper. This is great opportunity as well as a difficulty for us to look at ourselves in a different way and somehow to enter into the deeper places of our being with joy. The entrance is very simple; we just need to listen to those kids today lighting the candles. It takes us to another place; it takes us beyond the candles in George Street to something beautiful – the light in the darkness.
Rosie: You are so right. We can have Magnificat moments whether it be a child lighting a candle or three mice seeing an angel. But Mary’s song doesn’t happen until she meets Elizabeth. It doesn’t happen in her own home after the angel left. And these days it is harder that we are not able to do things together, although the joys of technology are helping so much – but being with people is important.
Peter: If we think of the church as a place of possibility, even if one person goes out so that they can enlarge about themselves something has worked. Isn’t that wonderful? Our soul is still working even on this dismal weekend, and that is the hope of life, really. Not that it’s an easy answer or without struggle. Some of you know that I have been living with a critical cancer for 5 years and it’s not an easy journey. And many of you may be living with cancer or other illnesses and it’s not easy. Mary said these things out of her depths and there are certain things that only come out of our depths. They don’t come from where we are; they come from somewhere else. And it may be possible some Sunday to share these depth moments wherever they might be – climbing a hill or anywhere.
Rosie: And they can always be Magnificat moments. As the psalmist says deep calls to deep. And when Mary sings her song, she is not just singing to herself, she is singing to Elizabeth. A place of souls is not ‘you’ or ‘I’ it is always ‘we’. ‘The poor will be lifted up’ And that’s part of our story to tell.
So we are going to listen to the first three verses of Tell out my soul. And perhaps in the weeks to come there will be opportunities for each of us to have conversations about another verse about how our souls sing, ironically at this time in this place where we are not permitted to sing.
Today’s service, for the third Sunday in Advent, is led by Rev Dr Rosie Magee, with church members Alison Campbell and Peter Millar.
Drama: Eilidh, Iona and Edward
Scripture Reader: Jennifer Speirs
Director of Music: Brigitte Harris
Vocal ensemble: Eleanor Cozens, Eleanor Wilson, Caitlin McGillivray, Drew Crichton, Tim Cooper, Andrew Carvel
Technical team: Alison Bruce, Andrew Carvel, Susan McLarty, Mary Margaret Scott, Drew Crichton
Spill the Beans issue 37 ©2020 Spill the Beans Resource Team
Title image: Rosie Magee
Hymn images: Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay.
Hymn 287 image: The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli c1485. Public domain CCO via Wikimedia Commons.
Hymns used under licence from CCLI 247862
Streaming licence 351013
and ONE LICENSE #A-734408
St Andrew’s & St George’s West Church of Scotland Edinburgh. Charity SC008990