|Magnify the Lord with Me||11th April 2012|
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.”
I want to hold up the song of Mary as an example of what happens to you when you have living unshakeable faith- you also have the “Joy of the Lord”. In fact Mary’s Song is also prophetic: it heralds the victory that would be gained through Christ for the whole world. I am awestruck when I meditate upon the magnitude of the ministry that was given to Mary- I call it “ministry”- you may describe it as a “calling”- we have called been called to play a unique part in the story of salvation. Mary was however given the scissors to cut the ribbon, the bottle to launch the ship, the key to the mighty gates of the kingdom and in her hand was thrust (she had no choice), the pen with which the history of our deliverance would be recorded. What an awesome task!
Mary must have been a teenager with outstanding faith. Just imagine the scene- she is engaged to be married to Joseph and an angel appears to tell her that she will give birth to the Messiah that people had been waiting for over a thousand years. She would carry God within her: she was that virgin spoken about in Isaiah 7:14 that would give birth to the son “with the government on his shoulder”, known as “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
After her initial (but understandable) shock, Mary was given reassurance during her time spent with her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist (the voice crying in the wilderness prophesised in Isaiah 40:3 and fulfilled in Mark 1:3). In divine circles you couldn’t get a more highly esteemed ancestry: the mother of the prophet who prepares the way for the coming Messiah and baptises him and the mother of the Son of God swapping their miraculous stories. In human terms you couldn’t have experienced a more dismal, dull and uninteresting pedigree- as we know God’s wisdom is foolishness to man. I am sure both Mary and Elizabeth were mindful of the vast and inconceivable responsibilities that were placed upon their young unsophisticated shoulders.
When I read Mary’s song my puny faith is reduced even further to almost nothing. She must have had some inkling of the enormous challenge faced by taking on this divine assignment: the stigma of illegitimacy, estrangement from her fiancée, family, friends, community and being considered an outcast in society; along with being thought of as insane, along with the possibility of being disowned, ridiculed, dejected, abandoned and scorned. You can see why Mary was chosen by God-and I admire her for it. Mary’s response was to MAGNIFY the Lord. There is a lesson in that for us all when faced with trials: PRAISE God like Mary- what have you got to lose!! Her focus was on God and not her circumstances, her faith allowed her to know that God would enable her to overcome all her difficulties.
Her song is one of awe, reverence and praise. Her humility shines through as she sings: she cannot believe why God has chosen her but recognises that she has become part of God’s most important work- the redemption of mankind. Our God would only entrust this role to someone of who is after his own heart.
Mary’s song is a continuous stream of praise to God as El Elyon The Most High and El Shaddai, Almighty God who performs mighty deeds; deposing the proud and raising up the humble; showing favour to the poor in spirit who by man’s standards, do not deserve honour; fulfilling his promise to Abraham to redeem Israel his chosen people. If only I had an ounce of Mary’s faith and love for God I would be invincible in spiritual terms. God selected her because of her incredible faith, love, trust and obedience and her response is a testimony to that fact.
Many of us would have crumpled at the prospect of this incredible divine assignment but not Mary. When she was called to the awesome task of being mother to God in human form her response was to overflow with praise and thanksgiving.
Lord give me such a faith as Mary so that I can see your glorious light through the overshadowing mountains. That rain and sun can only mean a rainbow is on the way. And I can lift my eyes to see beyond the visible to the source of my hope, my help, my strength and peace to a brim over with JOY, Amen.
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