At the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel groaned under Roman
oppression. The Israelites yearned for release from the harsh
yoke, in part because an aspect of Jewish identity was bound up
in understanding themselves as agents of God’s redemption for
the world. This understanding helps account for the confusion
surrounding Jesus’ actual identity. He definitely challenged the
status quo political culture but never self-identified as a political
liberator for Israel. This confounded the disciples as they
attempted to understand the meaning of Jesus’ life and mission.
Mary’s Song reclaims God’s redemptive intention established
through Abraham who gave birth to a great nation.
For followers of Jesus, Mary’s prophetic idea exploded into a
wondrous revelation of freedom for all people. In one sense the
prophecy was “spiritualized,” released from physical boundaries
in the resurrection dynamic. In this way it became available
to everyone in every time. But then, it only made sense when
this spiritual truth took root in individual lives once again.
An energetic flow between the spiritual and physical realms
is at play here. The timeless nature of Jesus’ redemption is
potently available in our own time. Jesus is God’s commitment
to a radical redefinition of those found acceptable to God. It’s
a topsy-turvy revelation straight from God’s imagination that
continues to confound contemporary disciples. Mary, God’s
handmaiden, poor, accused of breaching vows of engagement,
breathes an electrifying call-to-arms for the sake of God’s love
We may ask these questions: Where today does God scatter
the proud in the imaginations of their hearts? Where are the
lowly lifted up and the hungry filled with good things? And
then, where is the evidence of God’s intention in those who
follow after the way blazed by Mary’s child?
Holy God, help me to sing like Mary. Amen.
Second Samuel 7 extols Yahweh’s choice of the family of David as the extraordinary vehicle for divine salvation. God now plans to do a new and unparalleled thing in the life of humankind. Mary’s song of wonder from Luke 1 serves as the psalm selection. It centers on her realization that human life will now never be the same. In the epistle reading, Paul rejoices that by the power of God the times are what they are. In the Gospel text, Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the “Son of God.” Overwhelmed by both the holiness and the enormity of the moment, Mary nonetheless consents to the will of God as brought by God’s messenger.
• Read 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16. Respond to the author’s question, “How shall we interpret good fortune or bad from the perspective of God’s good care for us?”
• Read Luke 1:47-55. How do you learn to embrace the mystery of holy time in the commonplace events of your day?
• Read Romans 16:25-27. How has God’s love shown through Jesus Christ proved to be an antidote to your fears?
• Read Luke 1:26-38. Where do you see the “lowly lifted up and the hungry filled with good things”? How can you participate in that gracious work of God? What fears can you name before God?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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