Icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos O higher than the cherubim,
more glorious than the seraphim,
lead their praises: “Alleluia!”
Thou bearer of the eternal Word,
most gracious, magnify the Lord:
“Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

On this day the church remembers Mary. On the Lutheran calendar is it simply Mary, Mother of Our Lord. For Roman Catholics today is the feast of the Assumption. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, it is the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. The title Theotokos means God-bearer, and was applied to Mary at the Council of Ephesus in 431 because if Christ is both God and human, Mary indeed gave birth not only to Jesus as a human being, but to God incarnate. That is, she is the Mother of God, the Theotokos, the bearer of the eternal Word, and the application of the title is a matter of orthodox belief about Christ.

It’s also a welcome time to contemplate Mary’s song, the Magnificat—a song of praise, thanksgiving, justice, and hope:

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”  —Luke 1:46-55