Mary, Mother of Our Lord Sunday

by Bear Wade

A REVOLUTIONARY POWER SONG
Luke 1:46-55
Mary, Mother of Our Lord Sunday
Analysis by Kris Wright

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. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


DIAGNOSIS: The Song the World Sings

Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem) – Presumption of Power
Mary sings of power in a bi-polar world, a society of contrasts: the lowly versus the proud, the humble versus the enthroned, the hungry versus the rich, the servants versus the mighty, the haves versus the have-nots. It is a world where those who call themselves rulers, winners, the high and the “mighty ones” who look down on the meek and lowly ones, have a power that looks like God’s, but it is a counterfeit power–one that rules by domination and subjugation, a transient, precarious, grasping power that will not, cannot, let go–a power of empty promises that leaves the holder with empty hands. The world has not changed much since Mary’s day.

Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis (Internal Problem) – Full of Themselves
Having put their trust in the counterfeit power of this world to secure their position and wealth, they have no need of, nor do they fear, God. Proudly they call on him (if at all) only to justify what are already the “thoughts of their hearts.” They assume and presume divine sanction. But God’s mercy is for those who fear him, and so these self-proclaimed “mighty ones” are left at the mercy of the powers of the world.

Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem) – Sent Away Empty
They should be afraid, very afraid. The Mighty One has shown his strength–and the news is not good. There is no “favored nation status” for those who fear and trust human powers. There is already a revolution underway through the Son in Mary’s womb. Everything is turned upside down. Those who are on top, are toppled, the “proud in the thoughts of their hearts” are now scattered by this Revolutionary God. As he turns the world upside down the first are last, winners are now losers. Those who do not fear God are sent away empty.

PROGNOSIS: The Divine Song God Sings

Step 4: Initial Prognosis (Eternal Solution) – Blessed, Lifted, Filled
Even now there is hope–for the lowly and the mighty. God comes down to raise them up. The Mighty One has done great things. His Son has become Mary’s son, one of us. He becomes little, least, last; he will be scattered, brought down, emptied, so they can be gathered, lifted up and filled. The baby conceived in Mary’s womb, though not yet born, has begun to transform the world. God has remembered his promise to our ancestors and has himself become a servant, to lift the lowly, fill the hungry, and raise the dead. The lost are found by the Divine Power who became servant and Savior for us.

Step 5: Advanced Prognosis (Internal Solution) – Full of Faith
True power, God’s power, is made perfect in our weakness. We are saved now, safe now, free now to trust in the Mighty One who has done great things, not only for others, but for me! Full of faith we hang on the promise of our God who changes everything. Our spirits rejoice in God our Savior. God is faithful. “He has helped his servant….in remembrance of his mercy….from generation to generation” (vv. 54-55).

Step 6: Final Prognosis (External Solution) – We Sing with Mary
We join Mary in her song of liberation and revolution. With our lives we magnify the Lord. We become signs of the divine power that is at work within us, power that breaks down our bi-polar divisions and unites us under Christ. We live, not by the counterfeit, temporal, temporary, transient, worldly values, but by true eternal values–power in weakness, the last becoming first, giving not grasping. It’s a whole new world.

Author

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In the early 1970s two seminary professors listened to the plea of some lay Christians. “Can you help us live out our faith in the world of daily work?” they asked. “Can you help us connect Sunday worship with our lives the other six days of the week?”  That is how Crossings was born.

 

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