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Does YOUR soul "Magnify the Lord"?

Probably the oldest carol for Advent and one of the oldest parts of a Christian worship service was Mary’s Song, also called the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), because the first line is “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

It is an ancient hymn but also very subversive.  Mary foreshadows Jesus’ mission and ministry in the Gospel of Luke (“to bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18) and “blessed are the poor…” (Luke 6:20). 

Mary says, “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” (Luke 1:52-3).

Did you know that because of these words, Mary's Magnificat was banned in the British Empire during its rule over India in the 20th century? 

Also, a Guatemalan dictator and an Argentinian dictator banned this speech by Mary from being said in public or in church.  Surprising, isn't it? 

Subversive language against the powerful and the rich was and still is encouraging to the hearts of the poor and lowly who are seeking liberation from oppression.  It’s also feared by those who seek to wield power over and get rich from the poor and oppressed.

The Magnificat is the longest speech of any woman in the New Testament. 

It's a powerful and subversive song for the ages, as long as there are poor, as long as there are people being oppressed, this song will continue to resonate and to echo throughout time.   This song is Mary’s response to what God is doing throughout her life.  God’s presence will overshadow her and change her life and, through her, history.

God’s power and presence are with us, too - leading us, guiding us, moving us forward.

Like Mary, God’s Holy Spirit overshadows us and empowers us with spiritual favour, so we can assist in bringing Christ into this broken world. We, too, need to bring our whole selves, our bodies, minds, and spirits to reveal Jesus Christ to this broken world. 

We do this by magnifying God’s love and grace through our lives and our souls.

What are your spiritual gifts, what is your faithful labour for God, and how can you serve God’s vision?  Everyone has unique abilities, and everyone is needed to bring Jesus Christ more fully into the world, bringing him into our daily struggles. 

People need to see Jesus Christ in our words and actions every day, not just one day or a season.

As we take the last steps toward our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ into today’s world, may God inspire us all to echo Mary’s song in our lives.

In the words of Howard Thurman:

“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among the people, To make music in the heart.”

Like Mary, let us say, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord,” and bring the Christ child into our daily lives, born anew in us each day.  God is with us.

Have a safe and merry Christmas!

Reverend Kevin Highfield


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