46 Mary said,
“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
47 In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49 because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50 He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
55 just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
Have you ever had one of those moments where everything around you that was unimportant suddenly fell away, and your vision became clearly focused on only what was truly important? This can happen during a crisis or a life event, reading scripture or during prayer. It happened to the young girl Mary. She gained clarity of purpose and she acted by speaking out in her song of praise to God.
Initially, Mary was afraid and confused by the angel Gabriel’s announcement that she would give birth to God’s son. This prophecy of the coming of the Messiah was the long hoped for promise to Israel. So how could it be happening now and why was she being called to play a part in God’s plan for the salvation of the world? Gabriel’s responds to her that “Nothing is impossible for God.” Mary responds, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.”
Mary is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, her confusion falls away and her vision becomes crystal clear. Her clarity of purpose and her deep faith in God, bring forth a song of prophecy and praise. Mary is transformed and she finds her voice. Though she realizes there will be sacrifice, she finds she has courage to act, to accept her part in God’s plan, and to praise God for what has happened and what is yet to come. With all her heart she gives God the glory. She proclaims the hope and love of the Holy God who will turn the world order upside down to bring mercy and justice to the oppressed and salvation to the world. Mary’s Canticle, or song, is a song of courage and praise, a declaration that God’s Kin(g)-dom is happening, and it takes courage to proclaim this in a land occupied by the Romans. It is courageous because it comes from a woman who has little worth and few rights in her society. It is a song of courage because it speaks truth to power, because Mary truly believes, that nothing is impossible for God.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Unlike Mary, most of us don’t have angels to inform us of our purpose and provide clarity for our part in God’s Kin(g)-dom.
Instead, Jesus provided us with clarity of purpose, teaching us to love God and love others, and to go into the world to share the good news. Jesus told us not to be afraid and promised us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to give us the courage to act against injustice.
Do you have clarity for your purpose and your part in God’s Kin(g)-dom? How is God calling you to act with courage in your daily life? If you were to write your own song of courage, what would you say about your faith in God, what God has done for you, and is doing through you for the Kin(g)-dom?
Prayer: Holy God, grant us clarity of purpose, fill us with the fire of your Holy Spirit’s power to give us courage to act against injustice, to share the good news of Jesus, and to love fearlessly. We ask this to bring you glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.