And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary was the first of her kind, a pioneer of a new form of humanity’the Jesus bearers. Of course, the virgin birth is unique, utterly unprecedented and wholly unrepeated. But even in this singular miracle of human history, we see how it will change everything after. Because Mary bore the incarnate Jesus in her womb, we now bear him in our souls. The living God now lives in us.
Our tradition protested against the abuses of the papal institution and sought to reform the church in the image of its radical beginnings. So we tend to shy away from focusing on Mary out of fear of past misconceptions. But through this humble woman from a backwoods village, far out of the sphere of power, the Almighty draws near to us. As the baby kicks in her womb, empires tremble and giants lose their step. She delights in this strange mercy of God that exalts the humble and unseats rulers.
We bear this same revolutionary Jesus in us. And once again his presence in us threatens to upend the conventional order of things and usher in the way of the kingdom. In our cities and churches, he is sowing the seeds of a new revival that continue to arrive through unlikely vessels.
And like Mary, we delight in his strange wisdom. Our souls glorify his ever-extending faithfulness. Our spirits rejoice in his grace to us and through us. And we echo, “May it be to your servants as you have said.”
Jesus in us, use us to lift up the lowly, even if it means we are the ones who are humbled. Teach us to delight in this disruption of the organization chart and to rejoice in your strange mercy to the weak.
How is Jesus upending the status quo in your community? Does that image cause you to delight or despair? Why?
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