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The Magnificat: Carrying God Within Us (Luke 1: 46-55)

The transformation of an oppressive world will not come through violence, but through fearless love.

S2:E40 EPISODE SUMMARY

“Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

That’s a powerful self-affirmation for an unwed pregnant teen!

An umarried teen girl, from long before Jesus until, sadly, today, could be called many things, but blessed isn’t usually one of them.

Mary was truly a badass.

We begin with this Advent Season with the Magnificat because Advent is a time of pregnancy. We are all Mary right now. It is a strange and even fearful as well as wonderful thing to recognize that God is growing within us, preparing to burst forth and be born anew.

But Mary isn’t afraid. Despite the risk, despite the fact that carrying a baby with no biological connection to her betrothed could be life-threatening (though there is no evidence that first-century Judaism carried out the most stringent penalties of the Torah), despite the fact that even if her life were spared, a single mother’s life was even harder then than it is now… despite all of this, Mary is not afraid. Mary is empowered. 

Her “yes” to God is not meek submission to patriarchal authority. It’s an enthusiastic agreement to partner with God in overturning the powers of oppression. “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” Mary is empowered to carry God within her and bear God to the world because Mary knows God. While the Powers that Be try to claim that a world of oppression and sacrifice and violence is righteous, Mary knows that God is coming to turn that world — turn our world — upside-down. God is with the marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed. God is in the most vulnerable of us, even as God was in Mary.

The transformation of an oppressive world will not come through violence, but through fearless love. Mary’s love for God, for the poor and vulnerable of the world, and for herself, is powerfully subversive. God’s love doesn’t exclude the powerful and the rich, but it does humble them and empty them so that they can find worth not in status or material Gods, but in the image of God within their fellow human beings.

Mary might have endured scorn and ridicule from the outside world, but she loves herself because she knows that God within her loves her. Let’s follow Mary’s example by loving ourselves and one another and throwing down the gauntlet on a world of oppression. We are getting ready to bear the new life of God into the world.

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