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Monday, March 15, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 1

I know my reading schedule must seem totally random to you. I thought I should take a moment and explain what’s driving it. This year, I want to read the entire Bible through so I’m using a version of Eugene Peterson’s The Message called Remix//Pause. The version gives one Old Testament reading a day and one New Testament reading a day. Instead of trying to read both selections each day, I’m starting the year by reading just the New Testament readings to help focus myself. Unfortunately the order of New Testament readings was created to fit the themes of the accompanying Old Testament readings – so without the Old Testament readings, the order may seem completely random. For that I apologize. If you hang in there with me, I should reach the Old Testament sometime in May. I hope that helps you understand where I’m coming from.

One of my all-time favorite television shows is Ally McBeal. This past Christmas, my partner Mike bought me the DVD box set of the entire series. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been watching episodes from season one. In one of the first season episodes, Ally is introduced to an eccentric psychiatrist played by Tracey Ullman. The psychiatrist suggests that Ally chose a theme song as a way of helping Ally better understand herself.

Ever since I heard that suggestion, I wondered what song would I chose to be my theme. I pondered the question for several weeks. Then one day early this Lenten season, as I was preparing to drive to my appointment for spiritual direction, I found an old CD that had slipped down in a crack beside my car seat. It was a CD of Ray Charles. I hadn’t heard it for awhile so I slid the CD into my player. Within a few minutes, I heard the song that I immediately claimed as my theme song.

It was a song written by Paul McCartney (though he had help with the music from a couple of friends named John and George). Though the inspiration for the song was a dream that Paul had about his mother Mary McCartney (who had died from cancer when Paul was just 14), one can hear the song and think of it in the context of today’s passage from Luke 1 – especially the part where the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and informs her of her upcoming pregnancy. Mary responds to the news by saying, “Let it be with me just as you say.”

Let it be… what simple yet profound words to live by.

That refrain captures my desire to live in the moment and let go of my control issues; that’s why I’ve chosen it for my theme song. I offer the link below to Ray Charles’ rendition of the song. I hope the music invites you to claim the wisdom of Mary’s words for yourself.

Til next time…

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