Between the Lines: Advent 4: December 18, 2011

Text: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation is a source of powerful art and music.  On the Educational Center website, you’ll find some links to images of the Annunciation. Look for images of “Vierge Ouvrante” or “Virgen Abridera.”  These images from the 15th century are of the virgin as the mater misericordia, Mother of Mercy.  Under her cloak, as it opens out, she protects all sorts and conditions of Christians; on part of her body are carved (or painted) images of God the Father, Jesus crucified, and the Holy Spirit.  Her cloak opens up and these inner images appear.  Closed, she is a statue of Virgin and son. 

Another sculpture worth a look is Kathe Kollwitz Mother with her dead Son, done in 1939, some 20 years after the death of her own son in WWI.  It echoes with the grief and power of many of the traditional Pietas.  Much can also be said of the Black Madonnas.

Particularly for Protestants, it might be worth some time to listen to some of the “Ave Marias” in the repertoire.  Forego an evening of errand-running, get out your music collection, or explore the links at the Educational Center.  You can listen to the “Ave Maria” of Schubert, Biebl, Caccini, Bach/Gounod, Desprez, Bruckner, performed by Renee Fleming, Bobby McFerrin, Luciano Pavarotti, Chanticleer, Sarah Brightman, Sumi Jo, Kathleen Battle, and others.  Give yourself the gift of evening with the art and music; don’t try to multi-task or do anything else; just listen, and let it all gestate. Wonder how these artists and musicians interpret the story of Mary in their own time and circumstances.

– Beth Harrison


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