Share this blog!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Voice! Magnificat Advent 4 C Luke 1:39-56 Micah 5:2-6 Hebrews 10:5-10 Psalm 80

Voice is the word that keeps surfacing as I study these passages.
Micah has a voice that cries out:
2But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 3Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. (NRSV)
The writer of Hebrews has a voice that cries out:
He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.(NRSV)
In a post-exilic voice, the Psalmist cries out
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Elizabeth cries out
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 

45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

A baby leaping in the womb? How does that feel? Well, like nothing else. One of my children was extremely sensitive to loud noises in utero. She jumped. And that is a strange feeling to feel a person jump that has no where to go. Baby John jumped. He felt the vibes coming from Baby Jesus; the tremor only just beginning; the agitation before the quake; the distant thunder before the downpour. Baby John felt all of that. And Elizabeth in the wisdom of her years that moment.
And she spoke to Mary; her beloved cousin...

Blessed is she who believed
It is one thing to be chosen.
It is another thing to believe.
Thee would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. Were there times before the morning sickness hit that she wondered if the angel's visit had only been an apparition? A fleeting dream....?

It is still another to be willing to do the task to which God has called.

as she awoke one early morning running for the door did it hit her? The promise was fulfilled IN HER.

Did her mother watch, judging? Listening to Mary in those wee hours, did she question her?

And Mary has done both. She has believed. And she has done. 

Could she have refused? 

It seems that God allows free choice. 

I read once that perhaps God had visited many young women before Mary and none had been willing. Who knows?

But Mary was willing. "May it be to me as you have said."

But the loudest most joyous cry of all comes from the mouth of Mary:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
48for he has looked with favor 
on the lowliness of his servant.

How could it be favor when she faced persecution? 

The flowing-like-honey song we call the Magnificat 
(Latin for "My soul magnifies") 
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, 
and holy is his name.
 50His mercy is for those who fear him 
from generation to generation.
 51He has shown strength with his arm; 
he has scattered the proud 
in the thoughts of their hearts. 
52He has brought down the powerful
 from their thrones, 
and lifted up the lowly; 
53he has filled the hungry with good things, 
and sent the rich away empty. 
54He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy, 
55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
 to Abraham and 
to his descendants forever.” 
I keep reading of those who want to emphasize the past tenses (aorist for those who studied Greek) 
of this song.
We cannot get around the grammar. 
He has shown strength
He has scattered
He has brought down
He has filled
He has helped
We know that God has done these things. 

But we know that he is doing these things and that he will continue to do these things. Because we know the Baby was born and brought much to pass.
Mary does not know this yet. 

but she does know. 
Or she would not sing.

But the voices around us cry out the opposite
The world is ending. 
Mary lived in a world controlled by the violence of the Roman empire. Pax Romana, meaning peace of Rome came at the price of soldiers enforcing at any cost. 

How could she believe this? Wasn't her nation under occupation?
What powerful thrones had God brought down? 

Weren't there still hungry people in the world? 
Aren't there today?

But this song proclaims that God has already brought down the powerful.

He has lifted up the lowly. 

He shows that by having the greatest song of all sung by a poor young woman from a tiny town, pregnant with the greatest gift the world has ever received.

No comments: