Singing with Mary

Below is another Advent devotional, this one from 2008, all centered on the Magnificat, Mary’s song in Luke 1.46-55. I love the echoes of the prophets that sing hope into the future.


Baptist Pastor Cam Watts, in reflecting on the Advent season, is quoted as saying:

In the somewhat frenzied aspects of the season, and wars and rumours of wars and pestilence and hope and despair and engaging powers, I keep a supporting image of God coming to us as individuals, or stepping into the midst of conflict, holding out a swaddled infant to us and saying, ‘Here, hold this for me, will you?’

2-magnificat-cardTalk about the unexpected.

Then again, why should we expect anything otherwise? Through the Hebrew scriptures, we find examples of the most unsuspecting and unsuspected persons speaking truth in the face of all that is not true, of justice in all that is not just, and of what is holy in all that is not.

We could use a little of that right now.

We could use a voice crying out in the wilderness, reminding us who we are and from whence we came. We need someone to help us name our fears and terrors, that we might confront them, that we might be assured of God’s faithfulness in the face of all that is mighty and unfaithful.  We need to know how to be human again.

So why Mary? I doubt I need to remind you (as most of the devotions have also done) of all that made Mary as a messenger of God (with arguably the most important message of all) a completely preposterous idea. Our God—from this girl.  But here she is…singing her song. She joins her voice in the chorus of the prophets and the gospels—the song that reminds us that apparently failed promises are being kept just when we thought they were abandoned.

The future proclaimed in her song, in all the singing surrounding the otherwise quiet, swaddling incarnation of God, is that singing will be possible again.  She sings the song and then brings to life a complete reversal of our expectations: we expect a mighty, dominant force bringing utter and immediate change: we receive a teacher, humble and tortured.

We must sing. We must sing, with Mary, a song of hope and of liberation. And magnificat_radicalwe all must sing the song—to remember ourselves into the covenant of God that will maintain us.  And we must allow the songs to transform us—continually singing a new song to God. Complacency has never led to change, and waiting for others to go to work leaves the whole world idle. Hoping for someone else speak out of the wilderness to challenge the gross injustices of the world will leave us all in eerie silence

As Christmas approaches and we await the world made new, we remember the birth that happened unnoticed, and continues to catch us off guard. But let this year be the year we break the silence; let this year be the year we sing our song of salvation; let this year be the year we sing along with the prophets, along with Mary, the song of justice and liberation, the song “in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise God has made.”


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