30 July 2013

Luke 1:46-55

“And Mary said ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour for he has looked in favour on the lowliness of his servant ... he has filled the hungry with good things.’” (vv. 46-48, 53)


This song of great praise and joy came from the depths of the heart of Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus and nurturing the Saviour of the world within herself. She had received, through the action of the Holy Spirit, the saving life of God within her, a most sacred commission, which was to bring salvation to the whole world. The song is called 'the Magnificat'. Mary's song describes the reversal on earth from a human ordering of the world to one ordered according to God's ways and thoughts. The song offers a picture of healing of broken and disordered ways in the world.

There is immense courage in the words of the song. This humble young girl was bearing an illegitimate child and was in a very vulnerable place in her society. Yet Mary's song shows a great faith in the blessing to all generations that God was working in and through her. The song was sung as if God has already done all these things. God had already shown the strength of his arm, had already scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts (verse 51), and had already filled the hungry with good things (verse 53).

The song is an invitation to live now according to the values of God's age to come. In this way God's dwelling place (kingdom) is already breaking through for those with faith, eyes to see, and ears to hear. Salvation is about choosing life and love, not death and the facade of love. The invitation to salvation is to all of Abraham's descendants which included Gentiles (non Jews), that is to all of us. God's invitation to live now according to the values of heaven is for everyone. It is therefore through us (like Mary) that God works for this to happen. Each time we pray the Lord's Prayer, we pray: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven".

To Ponder

  • What is your special life-giving gift to the world?
  • Remember particular times when you felt aware that God was asking you to receive and nurture this gift. How did you respond?
  • Write your own song of salvation, showing how God is blessing you to be a blessing to others.

Bible notes author

The Revd Jenny Ellis

Jenny is a Methodist minister and this year has permission to study, as well as work alongside a rural chapel to help it find a new physical presence and sense of mission in its village. She is leading a number of quiet and study days.