The Worship Quote of the Week for (11/10/2009):

My Soul Magnifies the Lord
There is a brief health update at the end of this message.
Stam conducts Rutter TE DEUM, Finzi MAGNIFICAT, & Fauré REQUIEM on November 17 in Louisville.
FREE WORSHIP CONFERENCE: GOSPEL-CENTERED WORSHIP FOR THE LOCAL CHURCH, for worship leaders and pastors, November 10-11, 2009, at Louisville's Sojourn Community Church. Presenters include Tim Smith (of Mars Hill Church), Sandra McCracken, and Kevin Twit. Co-sponsored by the SBTS Institute for Christian Worship.
Registration is now open for the 2010 CALVIN SYMPOSIUM ON WORSHIP,
January 28-30, 2010, in Grand Rapids. Presenters include Jeremy Begbie, Marva Dawn, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Lester Ruth, John Witvliet, and many others.

Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is one of the canticles (songs) recorded in the New Testament—the song of Mary, known as the MAGNIFICAT ANIMA MEA (Latin for "My soul magnifies.") These lines sound like they could be right out of the Psalms. Mary recounts God's might and mercy in caring for his people Israel.

Try reading this narrative out loud. When you get to Mary's song, imagine a pregnant teenage girl expressing her surrender and worship to God her Savior. Amazing!

[The Oratorio Chorus and Seminary Orchestra here at Southern Seminary will perform Gerald Finzi's grand setting of the MAGNIFICAT on November 17 under Carl Stam's baton (along with the Fauré REQUIEM and the Rutter TE DEUM). All are welcome.]


The Birth of Jesus Foretold (Luke 1:26-38)
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45)
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Mary's Song (Luke 1:46-56)
And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

— The Song of Mary (The Magnificat), Luke 1: 26-56 (NIV). There are many wonderful musical settings of Mary's song. Some are best suited for concert performance and some are created for worship through congregational participation. My favorite poetic setting is Timothy Dudley-Smith's poetic version, "Tell Out, My Soul, the Greatness of the Lord" to the tune WOODLANDS ( Magnificent! Great composers through the centuries have used the Magnificat text to "magnify the Lord"—Monteverdi, Bach, Vivaldi, Tallis, Howells, Stanford, Rutter, Pärt, Tavener, and many others. Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies call for the canticle of Mary to be used at vespers or evening prayer, so there are a host of gifted church musicians who have offered settings for congregation or choir.


Dear Praying Friends,

Journal entries and photos about my cancer journey are available at (click on "journal" or "photos").

Nothing new. We are still waiting patiently (and prayerfully) for the November 18 PET scan. Thanks for your friendship, interest, and faithful prayers to our great God and Savior. The waiting is not easy, especially when I am not feeling great.

In His good care,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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