For the 4 Sundays of Advent this year, I’m focusing on Luke chapter one up until Mary’s Song. The first week, we looked at Zechariah. The second week, Mary. Last week, Elizabeth. And now we’ll conclude our Advent reflections with Mary’s Song.
Mary’s Song: The Journey to Justice
Read: Luke 1: 46 – 55
Angels and miraculous conceptions; honour in place of shame; belief instead of bitterness; declarations of blessing. The story up to this point has exposed the worst and the best of what it is to be human in relationship with God. Inner turmoil, paralyzing fear….. emergence of strength, confidence, and owning our worth.
This is the journey to the celebration of Christmas. This is the story of what the good news really is. God knows us; God honours and values us; God draws from us deeper faith than we knew or believed we had. God is with us!
And while this faith attends to our inner lives, repairing what is broken – it doesn’t end there.
Mary is drawn first of all to reverent worship. God is worthy of our praise – glorifying and rejoicing in who God is. Mary knows first-hand the goodness of God! This worship erupts from intimate knowing – not externally imposed expectation.
Mary stands tall in the honour bestowed to her. Reminds me of Marianne Williamson’s piece, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Indeed, as Mary prophesies, she calls to the deepest place within us, reminding us of God’s mercy and love of humility. She calls forth in us the faith to stand tall, to believe in the goodness and justice of our God. She reminds us of the upside-down power strategy God employs – the power of powerlessness that dismantles domination, violence, coercion, and control. She sings a song of freedom for those on the margins who find themselves oppressed. And she invites us to participate with God in the pursuit of shalom – us, our children, and our children’s children.
The many trappings of Christmas can obscure the simple, but profound call of the Incarnation: We matter to God. We have dignity and worth. This knowing stirs up faith; and faith stirs up strength and blessing; and strength and blessing stirs up justice. Where do you most need to experience God’s presence? In the knowing of your worth? In the stirring up of faith? In exercising strength and extending blessing? In being (re)energized for the work of justice?
God, meet us where we are and provide what we need. Give us grace to move forward in our journey. And may we participate with you in the pursuit of justice. Amen.