This evening, Christie and I went to Lincoln Cathedral for choral evensong. The evening prayer office features the choir singing the Magnificat. This song or canticle, from Luke 1:46-55, is a powerful song of faith sung by Mary as she meditates on the news that she is to be the mother of the Christ.
As we were listening to the choir sing, I was struck by a young girl, one of the senior choristers, who was trying to intently sing, but her own restlessness kept getting in the way.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=chorister&iid=3205820″ src=”2/e/2/1/Choristers_Rehearse_For_8285.jpg?adImageId=8150327&imageId=3205820″ width=”234″ height=”169″ /]She would pull her hair back with one hand, or re-place the ribbon which came across her shoulder, or make a funny face, as if to say, “I’m not yet sure who I am.” In short, the perfect image of an adolescent–probably close in age to Mary, when she was visited by Gabriel. And as the beautiful song of praise was raised in the cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I thought that perhaps she might have looked and acted not too dissimilar from this young chorister.
We tend to think of Mary as a self-confident lady, possessing the wisdom and poise to say, “I am the servant of the Lord.” But we don’t often think of her as an adolescent coming to grips with her own personhood, her own body, her own relationships, her own faith. Could it be, as she heard the archangel’s melodious voice, she also was fiddling with her hair or clothing? I find it remarkable that when we are called upon in our youth, we have the ability to speak, perhaps not with confidence, but certainly with faith. Despite the timidity which we often feel, we come up with a response which honors God…this latter-day Mary certainly did.