Often when we focus on Mary, we tend to zero in on her youth, obedience, and chastity. All of this is, of course, part of Mary’s story. But it can be simple to resign Mary to the part of a background character in the “Baby Jesus” story.
But Luke 1 is, without doubt, the Mary story. What she says is powerful—a statement steeped in the prophetic tradition, too bold for someone so young, too radical for someone meek and obedient, too haughty for an unwed teen mother’s lips. Here, Mary speaks for herself and for all of God’s chosen people —the humble, the hungry, the poor. Far from a quiet, demure mother, blurred in the background of a creche, Mary instead provides a sneak peek of what we will come to expect from her Son. She speaks with authority, even though none was given to her by the power establishment.
Mary the God-bearer calls to us all. A pregnant, unmarried young woman who most would wish to write off, who by now may have endured whispered slurs, shame, and innuendo. Her story was unbelievable, and she knew it. Rather than let others shame her out of what God was working in her, she shouted it from the rooftops. This week, let us pray in the form and spirit of Mary. Let us proclaim with confidence what God has done for us.
My soul magnifies the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. For God has been mindful of . . . Name what God has done for you or what you wish to have restored. Call upon God’s upside-down mercies, where those left wanting are filled and the wealthy are freed from their possessions. Remember the long line of God’s mercies that have brought you to this moment.
As Christians we understand that our faith is rooted in the ongoing story of God’s faithfulness to God’s people. Micah celebrates this story, prophesying that the true king of Israel will one day come from the small village of Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace. Luke features women prominently throughout his Gospel. The two readings from Luke this week highlight the prophetic insights of Elizabeth and Mary. Mary visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John, God’s messenger. After Elizabeth identifies Mary as the mother of the Lord, Mary breaks into song, understanding that her story is tied to the fulfillment of God’s promises going back to Abraham. Little does she know that her son will one day offer his body as a sacrifice for all, as Hebrews tells us.
Read Micah 5:2-5a. What small beginnings have yielded great results in your life?
Read Psalm 80:1-7. What is your song of praise to God today? How will you share it?
Read Hebrews 10:5-10. How does your body help you to experience God?
Read Luke 1:39-55. How has God spoken to you through a joyous meeting with another person?
Respond by posting a prayer.