Today’s Scripture: Luke 1:46-56

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name." (NRSV)

My first vivid impression hearing Mary’s Magnificat and approaching some understanding of these powerful words was in the summer of 1989. My husband and I spent a month in Oxford, England. Each day at 6 o’clock we walked to Christ Church Cathedral to participate in Evensong.

Artwork by Taylor

Artwork by Taylor Lee

It was a new and different type of worship service for us Baptists, but we soon became enthralled with the ritual. Each sung Psalm became our prayer for the day. Mary’s “Magnificat” and the prayer of Simeon, the “Nunc Dimittis,” were sung at each service. To this day I never hear these words from the first chapter of Luke that my mind doesn’t take me back to the lilting soprano voices of the boys choir singing in that grand cathedral.

These verses have such power and majesty as they unfold that one can get quite swept along with the beauty and blessing and fail to see the radical change that will unfold with the coming of the Messiah. These words spell out the revolution and the dramatic change society should experience:

“he has scattered the proud…”

“he has exalted those of low degree…”

“he has filled the hungry…”

“the rich he has sent away empty…”

It is easy in this season to focus only on the beauty and sweetness of the baby in Bethlehem, but the “Magnificat” calls us quickly to realize the change and commitment this baby will bring to all of us. The love that Jesus calls us to is not the usual sentimental love that seems easy and appealing but a revolutionary love that changes everything.