Monday, June 22, 2009

The Magnificat

Luke 1:46-56

"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.'
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."

First, a few things to point out. One, Mary could be as young as twelve years old. That is the age at which young Jewish women begin to be given in marriage. Most think she is around 14. Imagine today! So, let's not over-spiritualize her, this is a 14 year old girl!

The context is that Mary was just called blessed by Elizabeth for believing in God and trusting His promises. Elizabeth says, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Mary is blessed! She bursts out into this song, called the Magnificat.

Mary breaks out in rejoice for God. Remember now, she probably isn't that pregnant. She is bursting out in absolute faith. She may not even be showing signs of a baby yet; the only evidence she has been given is John's leap in Elizabeth's womb.

I've emphasized two different things in this early church hymn. First, in bold, is the recognition that God is the actor. He is the initiator and the mover. He is mindful, He has done great things, He extends mercy, He performs mighty deeds, He scatters the proud, He brings down rulers, He lifts the humble, He fills the hungry, He sends the rich away, He helps Israel, and highlighting one of the main points in Luke, He keeps his promises, just like He said. Mary's recognition of this is awesome. God is the mover; all things are because of and brought about by Him. For me, it would read: He brings in our support, He is raising Noah to love Him, He holds our family together, He sets students' hearts ready to know Him, and many more! God is the actor of everything in our lives. What does it read for you? Do you recognize God's hand and control over every aspect of your life, as this 14 year old girl does?

Here is why Mary recognizes this so fully, and my second notation in the above passage; the italicized point out Mary's humility and brokenness before God. She is humble, she is the receiver of mercy, and she is His servant. She comes to God saying, 'I am yours. Nothing in me has earned your favor. Thank you for your mercy and use me as your servant.' This is where God has been setting my heart. I believe it starts by recognizing God is in control of all things, just as Mary does, and then moving forward knowing we have nothing especially great or good to offer.

God I am yours. Raise our support as you will. Raise our family as you will. I am your servant to accomplish your will in my life, family and community. Thy will be done.

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