Canticle of the Turning – Dina Pannabecker Evans

Lara Schopp 2018 Advent Devotions

As we prepare for the church year, it’s my practice to think about Christmas during the previous July. For 2018, I wanted to find a piece of music with great spirit to it (something that would cause Rev. Joe Walker to spontaneously whistle in the hallway after church), but with a text that speaks to the season, the world around us, and our connection to the season, the world, and others. Canticle of the Turning fit the bill with its Celtic feel and paraphrase of the Magnificat – Mary’s Song.

As the author Rory Cooney says about this work:

The idea of “turning” in the title was both a nod to the inner conceit of “revolution,” (derived from the Latin “volvere,” which means “to turn”) and to the message of Jesus’s preaching in all three of the synoptic gospels, the core message of which was, “Repent, and believe the good news.” “Repent” translates a Greek verb the noun form of which is metanoia, that is to say, a complete change of the self, of mind and heart, which might also be rendered as “turn around.” The idea, of course, is that we are all walking a particular course dictated by the gods of “this world,” for Jesus and his countrymen, the god’s name was Caesar. Jesus was saying, “Look, how is that working out for you? Happy? Well, I have good news: a God with another idea, and his name is Abba. Let’s “turn around” and walk in another direction. So the “revolution” is both interior (a change of heart-self) and corporate and visible (a new way of living together). It is, in fact, against the prevailing set of values in society, a revolution. But I want to emphasize that it is a peaceful revolution, a revolution of action, persuasion,  and justice. In the spirit of Miriam of Egypt, Hannah, and Miriam of Nazareth “Canticle of the Turning” invites us to sing around the fire in the darkness while we await the new world’s dawn.

I invite you to read more here and consider how you can impact a world that is about to turn.