Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (2)
Text 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou
Text 2: Luke 1:39 -55
Thesis 2: The Joy of Mary
- “Joy to the World!”
- “O Thou Joyful, O Thou Wonderful”
- “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”
- “How Great Our Joy!”
Mary and Elizabeth were pregnant at the same time. Elizabeth was old and past the age of child-bearing, and Mary was a young virgin. They were both on their first pregnancy; they both became pregnant through a mighty act of God. God sent the angel Gabriel to announce both conceptions and births, and they both were given a child who played a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation. Mary arrived when Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy (Lk 1:36). Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home (Lk 1:56). And Mary said:
(Lk 1:46-47) My soul glorifies the Lord (47), and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.
A joyful Mary breaks out into song. Mary’s great desire in her song is to magnify the Lord, not herself. So, again and again, she points to what God has done.
First, Mary recognizes what God has done for her: He has been “mindful of the humble state of his servant” (Lk 1:48); He “has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49).
Second, Mary recognizes what God has done for all believers. “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation” (Lk 1:50); “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm” (Lk 1:51); He “has lifted the humble” (Lk 1:52); “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Lk 1:53). The song of Mary is closely allied to that of the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2) and contains several sentences taken from the Book of Psalms. Mary celebrates her happiness with deep humility and holy restraint. Hannah completely surrenders to the feeling of personal victory, in her first words breaking forth into cries of anger against her enemies.
Mary gives these consecrated words an entirely new meaning and a higher application as to the borrowed Biblical phrases. F. Godet. C.S. Robinson says of the Magnificat that it strikes us with wonder in these modern days that a peasant woman of Galilee should be able to chant in so holy a strain. Then observe the femininity of this song. No one but the queen of her sex could have composed it. Mark the delicacy of turn in the sentences, the mingling of dignity with humility, the majesty as sublime as Ezekiel’s, and the tenderness more gentle than John’s. It shows the mind and heart of just the one woman whom Elisabeth could call the “Mother of her Lord.”
Third, Mary recognizes what God has done for Israel: He has been “merciful” (Lk 1:54); He has “remembered” His promises to Abraham and his descendants (Lk 1:54).
Thesis 3: God’s Promise, Gifts/Blessings
When Mary said: “From now on, all generations will call me blessed,” was she being proud? No, she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her.
The text ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ is about a person (girl) presented in a multiracial region. The person who is a black girl first wishes she was “a long and blonde-haired, light-blue eyed, white girl,” describes how a strong character in a person helps to avoid the effects of racism, such as trauma that prevent the victims from succeeding and achieving their goals (Maya 3).
The autobiography, therefore, aims at strengthening the character, which can assist in overcoming situational challenges. The poem is about social life, focusing on individual freedom with the illustration of the caged bird. The caged bird is struggling in silence since it is unable to out the issues preventing it from moving out of captivity. The caged bird uses its stronger character to overcome challenges such as trauma that develop when individuals are denied personal freedom to grow. The author states that she could not have made it because of her strong character.
Challenges in the community help develop a character that would help navigate through the restrictions of society. Eventually, the caged bird talks about the challenges and how a more significant character helped overcome them and thus can equip itself with the free bid. The poem presents a revolution for blacks who have taken place to eliminate racial discrimination.
Maya Angelou tells us of a bird, a person, if you will, facing two separate but equal in their life. One area is a song of struggle and silence sung by a voiceless caged bird. The second is a free bird when one finds her voice and words to The song of salvation. Salvation is as in liberty and justice for all. We explore the evolution of the caged bird from a song of silence to a tune of redemption. Scholar Liliane Arensberg calls this presentation Angelou’s “identity theme” of being word made flesh… As in: was, is, and is becoming. From a bird’s eye view, This fractured system shows no semblance of shared struggle as we sojourn from Egypt to the ideal Canaan that Yah intends.
Yet, we find that Yah, through history, has liberated the shackled, shaken, and slaughtered children of Israel. Within the council halls of Heaven, Yah has determined how and when Yah will deliver us and has invited us to consciously participate in altering the trajectory of this nation to become the catalyst for change to ensure global harmony. We must understand that liberation is a constant composition of scripture. Micah 6:8 tells us to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our Yah. We also find that 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us to release the sound that can be heard in heaven so that the land can be healed harmoniously.
So, we assemble our mouthpieces as centennials and millennials and reiterate the music of Sojourner and Nat Turner, intricately composed by the tripartite Godhead, Yah, the holy father and mother, the holy spirit and the only begotten son, Yeshua, our model compass. The sable-skinned Savior, the Lukan Yeshua, whose complexion is kissed by the equatorial sun and whose head was anointed with the oil of liberation, reimagined the scroll of Isaiah’s tradition in the 4th chapter and the 18th verse of Luke’s Gospel. This same Lukan Yashua, whose womanist theology was carved out through a mother drenched in melanin magic, descended from the line of Shem; lineage from Noah through Abraham with black blood pulsating through his veins included five self-determined black women.
Tamar, Hagar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Miriam. He exchanged piercing noise with the sound of nail-pierced hands and feet. Yeshua, being the good news, was arrested by the Roman government and imputed the chorus of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. Our position is to sound the alarm that sings of Yeshua, whom the psalmist declared the syllables were melodic to the hearing saying, “Jesus the sweetest name on earth,” but we must render ourselves both active and valuable to the cause for faith without works is dead. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Let us recall our vows of solidarity and servitude and serenade God with liberty and justice for all. Let us begin to be instrumental and not sound brass and tinkling symbols temporarily misplaced melodies of truth, chords of peace, and harmony of equality.
The anointed sound is the liberation from all noises of oppression. Jesus, whose head was anointed with the oil of liberation, changed piercing noise into an anointed sound. Jesus, being the good news, was arrested by The Roman Government and took on poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. The sound was good news to the poor. The sound was the announcement of pardon to prisoners. The sound recovered sight for the literally and figuratively blind.
The sound declared the burdened and battered to be free. It was his sound that challenged religious exclusivism that divided Jews and Gentiles. He dared to touch the untouchables and called women his close disciples. His love was the frequency that touched the miserable lives of the outcast, unshackled their chains of non-dignity and insecurity, and ushered them into freedom and joy.
The sound was liberation heralded by the voice of God and hearkened unto by the oppressors. As is penned in our text, the sound produced by the anointed utterance of the Lukan, Jesus, works on varying levels. We need to understand its full significance; we need to integrate the personal-spiritual aspect emphasized in classical Protestantism, the individual-physical aspect emphasized in Pentecostalism, the socioeconomic aspect emphasized by liberationists, and the ecological aspect highlighted by the Sabbath principle.
Relevant Question: So, this raises an interesting question: What are the lyrics sung by the caged bird?
***To be concluded on Sunday, January 15, 2023.