A Song to Sing
Sermon by Pastor Josh Van Leeuwen
Introduction by Phyllis Yearick
When the Zulu greet each other, they say, “Sawu bona,” which means “We see you,” we being the person speaking and all of his or her ancestors, who are always with the tribe. The proper response from a fellow tribe member is “Sikhona,” which means, “Because you see me, I am here.” Until one acknowledges another’s presence, it is as if the other does not exist: being seen brings that person into physical being.
Gabriel’s appearance to Mary was an acknowledgment of her existence, an assurance that God had not forgotten his people. It is as if God said to her, “Sawu bona, Mary. We—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—see you.” And suddenly Mary came fully into being! No longer simply a poor girl from a tiny, impoverished village. No longer a nobody but now the mother-to-be of the Messiah. Her response to Gabriel’s announcement: “Sikhona, God. Because you see me, I am here. And I am your handmaiden. Let it be as you have said.”
After learning from the angel that her relative Elizabeth was also expecting a child, Mary hurried to visit her, for this story was more than hers alone. Hearing Mary’s voice at the door, Elizabeth felt her infant John leap for joy within her, and filled with the Holy Spirit she called out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. . . . Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
What is a more natural response to such a greeting than a song? A song of thanksgiving for a savior who was mindful of the condition of his children. A song of remembrance of the Lord’s deeds of justice and mercy, of celebration of his past acts of faithfulness, and of gratitude for his acknowledgment of her and her people. A song of joy for a God who keeps his promises. A God who continues to say to his people, bringing us all into the fullness of being: “Sawu bona, my children. We see you.”
You are welcome at Westview Church! Join us this Sunday morning at 9:30 for worship (nursery care and children’s worship available for little ones through second grade). Discovery Hour is on break and will return Jan. 5.