Luke 1: 46 -50
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
After the angel had revealed God’s Word to Mary she was understandably overwhelmed, troubled, and confused yet she exclaimed “I am the Lord’s servant.” God revealed His ability to do the impossible by sharing the amazing news that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived and was already 6 months pregnant when she was way past child-bearing age. When the angel left, Mary knew where she was going to go and as she enters Elizabeth’s home God confirms His promise with the filling of the Holy Spirit. Not only did Mary show up at Elizabeth’s house but God also showed up. Mary’s time listening to God along with Elizabeth’s joyous, affirming, and prophetic greeting now releases a song from Mary’s heart. The song has become known as “The Magnificat” from the opening words in Latin, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum,” “My heart magnifies the Lord.” Does your prayer time move you? What is your heart response to hearing from God? Mary’s song is a response of:
Her song is made up of images and references to Scriptures from Genesis, Job, Psalms, and from Isaiah it reveals how steeped her thinking was in the Word of God. When the wise men came to visit the Christ and the leading priests and teachers of religious law were asked where He would be born they knew because they knew the Word of God. Yet their knowledge didn’t result in any action, they never went, there was no response to go and see. Mary’s knowledge of the scriptures moves her, what we believe should affect our behavior. It is possible to study the scriptures purely as an academic exercise as one might any other book of literature or history and completely miss the heart of the message. Jesus later pointed out that the Pharisees studied the Scriptures that spoke about Him but they refused to come to Him, instead they rejected and killed the very One they claimed to love and follow. In contrast Mary studied the Scriptures as a lover not a learner, she passionately memorize and consumed the letters from her beloved, they not only stimulated her thinking but transformed her heart and soul. From the depths of her being she gives expression to her amazement, her adoration, her worship and love of God. She is moved with amazement at how He would use a “nobody” from Nazareth to accomplish His mighty purposes. Some of you feel like a “nobody” you fail to believe that God would want to work through you, that He could put a song in your mouth. But let me remind you about those God worked through in the past:
He chose Israel in the beginning, not because they were a mighty and powerful nation, but because they were the least of all the peoples on earth.
He chose Moses, a child of slaves, to deliver His people
He chose Gideon who was the least member of the smallest clan of the smallest tribe in Israel
He chose David the youngest and least likely in his family
Mary’s song is also a song of faith which grows out of true worship and adoration of God. Worship should take the attention off of us and focuses it on God, on His might, power, mercy and grace. It is the perfect environment for strengthening and deepening faith, because faith keeps its vision focused on the word the promises of God, not the surrounding or prevailing circumstances. Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” – it believes that because God has declared something, it is already an accomplished fact, even if the tangible and visible evidence is not immediately apparent to our visual and tactile sense. Mary proclaims that God has already scattered the proud and arrogant; pulled down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the poor; satisfied the hungry with good nourishment, and sent the self-sufficiently wealthy away empty-handed. Yet as she speaks these words her visible material circumstances were no different, she is still a young peasant girl from Nazareth. The Romans and the sycophant king Herod still ruled Palestine with an iron fist, taxing the people, the rich still had their goods and the poor continued to struggle. But Mary could sing and praise because she already believed in the change that God was bringing into being. A change where all wrongs will be righted, where every injustice will be corrected, where the oppressed and downtrodden will be lifted up and those who have elevated and exalted themselves will be humbled.
Mary’s song is a song of hope nurtured, strengthened and encouraged by her faith. It is a hope based on the promise God made to her ancestor Abraham and to all his descendants. A promise found in Genesis chapters 12 and 17 to establish His everlasting covenant with Abraham and to bless all the nations of the earth through him. He would be their God and cause them to dwell in their own land in peace. The believer’s hope is always firmly anchored in the faithful, sure and certain promises of God. Life’s unpredictable circumstances, sometimes favorable and sometimes chaotic come and go, but God’s promises are always faithfully fulfilled. Jesus affirmed that promise by saying, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” Matthew 24:35. Mary’s hope was firmly anchored in what God had promised.
Mary’s song is a song of LOVE, FAITH, and HOPE because in a unique way God had singled her out to carry the eternal Word in her womb. God worked in and through her so that the Word would become flesh, Emmanuel, God with us. But the story and the song do not end with Mary, God has also handpicked and personally selected you and me for the very same purpose. God still wants to work in and through us, as a vessel carrying His word inside us, as we flesh out His love by being His hands and feet. Through you He wants to make Himself known in your home, family, school and community. This Advent season God comes to us, the least likely individuals in the least likely of places and He says to us: “Greetings Giles! Greetings ________! You who are highly favored, The Lord is with you!” He takes the initiative and He makes the invitation but we have to respond. Mary responded by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant” and because she said “Yes” we can have a living hope, a steadfast faith, and the experience of God’s eternal and life transforming love. Our hurting and broken world awaits your response, will you let Mary’s song become your own?