An Advent Devotion: Mary’s Magnificat

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An Advent Devotion: Mary’s Magnificat

Luke 1: 46b-55
Isaiah 35: 1-10

“God is turning the world upside down.”

Whatever else can be said about Mary’s song of praise to God, this “Magnificat” from the heart of the mother of Jesus, proclaims is that God is the One who brings down the mighty and exalts the lowly, who fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty. In the birth of Jesus Christ we see, once again, the work of God in the great reversal of fortunes where places are exchanged between the rich and powerful with the poor and powerless. Through God’s choice of Mary to bring the Christ in human flesh, God continues the work of turning the world upside down in which

“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad
. . . . . .
the eyes of the blind shall be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”

Mary sings of this great turning because as she humbly professes to be God’s “lowly servant,” Mary was gifted to see with the eyes of the heart in at least three ways. She looked at and saw what was real, recognizing the magnitude of injustice perpetrated by the powerful and rich and how the economic, political and religious systems crushed the weak and vulnerable. She also saw what could be and what should be, the intention of God for life where

“the lame shall leap like a deer and
the tongue of the speechless sings for joy”
“waters break forth in the wilderness and
streams in the desert.”

And she saw that, in her lowliness, she was not alone as her

“spirit rejoices in God [her] Savior.
Surely, from now on, all generations will call [her] blessed.”

In the midst of the injustice, oppression and devastation we humans are inflicting upon Earth, all people and all living beings, what do you see today? Like Mary, do we see what’s real, recognizing that our way of life, modern industrial society, is wreaking havoc on eco-systems everywhere with the greatest impact upon the weakest and most vulnerable people, those who contribute the least to the destruction? Do we see what can be done and should be done for the sake of the “world that God so loves,” with both individual acts of compassion and care, and systemic changes that must come about in order for God’s great reversal to realized? What can you do within your congregation and community and as American Baptists? And do we see that despite the dire circumstances we have created, we are not alone in our call and quest to be faithful servants of the God of all life to help create a more just and sustainable world for all?

We are not alone. God is with us; Immanuel. Sing praise to God for the great turning!

You may want to listen to the song, “Canticle of the Turning,” by Gary Daigle and Rory Conney.

Rev. Tom Carr
Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Suffield, CT