Fourth Sunday of Advent (C), December 21, 2003
The Gospel According to Mary
Luke 1:46-55 in the Latin Bible reads, “Magnifcat anima mea, Dominum.” “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
The Magnifcat, a Way Point in the Gospel journey.
Robt J. Meniroff explains that Venus, the second closest planet to
the sun, is often used as a way-point. This means spacecraft directed
toward the planets in the outer reaches of our universe are first
sent toward Venus to gain energy and save fuel for their long
When the Christian
studies and prays the Magnificat, his or her spiritual journey is
energized and directed farther and deeper into relationship with God.
Of course, the entire New Testament magnifies – makes easily seen –
what God has done through his Son, Jesus Christ. But the Magnificat
can be a way-point on our journey through God’s never ending gospel.
The Gospel for us in Mary’s Song.
we come to the Magnificat we can realize that Mary’s song in itself
is an act of God’s grace. Her ability to sing such a song is an act
of sovereign grace. She refers to herself as only a “handmaiden,” a
slave of the most high God. God provided and preserved the holy song
in Scripture for us.
When Mary proclaims,
“He has regarded the lowly estate of His handmaiden,” her words tell
us that Mary’s song is not to exult Mary but to show forth the
character of God. God is big enough; He can even notice this apparently
insignificant person in the midst of all His creation. Mary’s very
being, who she is, uniquely made and appointed to a God-task,
magnifies, shows to all, God has touched her.
Song of Mary is a song of God’s prophetic Word. One can find within
Mary’s Song similarities to the Canticle of Anna in I Kings, parts of
various Psalms, Habakkuk, Malachi, Job, and Genesis. God who has
always been saving His people will continue to do so through the
person of Jesus, the fruit of Mary’s womb. God touches Mary as He who
saves, not just nations or kings, but the lowly poor.
is the message that is reiterated, echoed, and expanded through
Jesus’ life and teaching. The one whom Mary birthed came to the lowly
as savior, Giver of grace and mercy. Jesus’ teaching about the
kingdom of God proclaimed that God himself cares for and notices even
Mary’s song gives us words to join in
the proclamation that God is Almighty, All Powerful, the Strong One.
As we make her song our own, we open ourselves to God’s reign in our
hearts, minds, and souls.
In praising God for
who He is and what He has done Mary is receiving God’s momentum from
the energy of her call and response that she might be thrust into the
adventure of life of being Mary, the Mother of God Jesus Christ.
song of praise is a way-point for the years of her Son’s teaching,
the manifestation of her Son’s divine authority through signs and
wonders, the unspeakable horror of her Son’s death and her witness to
her Son’s resurrection and power.
Mary the Worshiper, then Mary the Worker.
slip the gravity of earth one must find a force great enough to be
thrust from the earth toward the stars. Mary was able to slip the
gravity of her lowly estate when she received God’s Word for her and
allowed herself to be drawn into God’s life’s work for her. When we
pray the Magnificat we too join the God-directed life and find a
way-point where we can be thrust from the “fallenness” of earth into
life in God’s presence, “on earth as it is in Heaven.” With Mary, let
us sing,Magnficat anima mea, Dominum, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Sermon brief provided by Carolyn Volentine,
Pastor, United Methodist Church, DeQuincy, LA.