Friday 31 May 2024

"And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant." (vs 47-48)

Luke 1:39-49 Friday 31 May 2024

Psalm 113

The overall theme for this week is ‘Enfolded in Love’ and most of the passages we have looked at are about the love of God for all humankind and how this should flow through us in love for one another. Today’s passage is very specifically about God’s love and care for one individual, the young woman chosen to bear God's child.

We need to remind ourselves that Mary was very young, probably a teenager. She was engaged to be married. She lived in an obscure rural area, was part of a patriarchal society and belonged to an ordinary family. In the eyes of the world, she was just one more insignificant woman in an insignificant place. Yet to God, she was the chosen one – the woman who would bear his only-begotten son.

When the angel announced to Mary that she was going to bear a special son, she was initially very afraid and bemused, yet she acceded to God’s plan for her.

In our passage today Mary is visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, who was herself pregnant in old age with the child who was to become John the Baptist. It was a time of great joy for both women and Mary’s apprehension has turned to joy and excitement, so much that she turns to poetry or possibly song, to praise what God had done for her (vs 46-49). Her words have come down to us as the Magnificat, which is regularly said or sung in churches.

Mary’s words express her thankfulness to God and her hope for a better future where the tyrannical powers of the world will be toppled.

To Ponder:

  • When you experience God’s love and direction in your life, how do you express your joy or thankfulness? Have a go at writing your own version of the Magnificat.
  • The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth could have been one of tension. Elizabeth had waited a lifetime to become pregnant, while Mary was pregnant so young. What does Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary’s news tell us about God’s purposes?

Heavenly God, we give thanks for the willingness of Mary to be part of your purpose for the world. Her vocation was both joyful and sorrowful. We pray that she may be a role model for us as we seek to live out our vocation in the world. Amen.

Bible notes author: The Revd Jennifer Potter
Jennifer is a supernumerary minister living in the Croydon Circuit. She works as a part-time chaplain at the local MHA (Methodist Home for the Aged). She was previously a minister at Wesley’s Chapel in London.

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