From the Bible:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for [God] has looked with favor on the lowliness of [God’s] servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is [God’s] name’” (Luke 1:46-49).
This morning we lit our third Advent candle with the opening words of what, traditionally, is known at the Magnificat. Mary’s poem of expectation and hope sung out loud when she was pregnant with Jesus. “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior…”
A poem which rehearses the abiding promises of God drawing on the Jewish tradition of the exodus and the exile, now pulled into this new time and place.
Naming…and praising…and, one more time, remembering the faithfulness of God…
- Who refuses to forget those too often forgotten:
- Who refuses overlook those who find themselves oppressed:
- Who scatters the proud and who turns power on its head;
- Who lifts up the lowly and who fills the hungry.
Rereading these verses again this week allowing them to run through my mind as I prepared for meetings and played tag with the children who came for Joyful Noise…
I found myself lingering over the word magnify.
As in magnifier…to make larger.
And, as in magnificent…to be noble or great or held in great esteem.
“My soul magnifies the Lord…”
You know that I think that the Bible…even this most treasured part of the Bible…is as much about you and me as it is about them. And, as much about here and now as it is about then. And, if I am right, and that is so, then do these words –“My soul magnifies the Lord…” – apply not just to Mary, but to you and me, as well?
My soul making God greater?
My soul making God larger?
My soul …the very essence of who I am…adding to the nobility and to the esteem of God?
And, your soul, as well?
You see the Bible is safe if we keep it about them, but risky if it suddenly becomes about us.
And, if I am right…
Or, even close to being right…
About how I read the Bible and how I understand these verses…
Then, maybe…just maybe…
Just as God depended on Mary…
Could it be that God now depends on you and me for God to be visible, manifest, magnified?
Large enough to see and real enough for others to experience?
But, back to Mary for a moment.
That Mary could say those words, at all, goes back to one prior word, I think.
One word that Mary said in response to God.
One word that God may now wait for you and me to say.
And, that one word is…Yes.
The difficulty we have is that we want to say two words, not one.
We want to say Yes, but…”
- Yes God, but not today.
- Yes God, but not my checkbook or credit card.
- Yes God, but not in the boardroom or the conference room.
- Yes God, but not with them.
Yes, God, but…
And, here may be the difference between ourselves and Mary.
The author of Luke’s gospel tells us that Mary said yes with her entire being.
Yes as only a pregnant woman can say yes.
Is that what it takes in our own lives?
For our hearts, our minds, our souls, our lives to magnify God?
To make God large enough to be seen by others and real enough to be experienced by others?
And, God only knows…
That Grand Dream of God that you and I know in Jesus…
That we, once again, claim as we celebrate Christmas…
God with us and for us…
God with all and for all…
Waits, once again, to be embodied and to be made manifest and to be magnified in this the world God continues to love so much.
Today, as we continue our preparation for Christmas, we catch the echo of Mary’s words…
Waiting now to be made our own.
Here I am.