The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Magnificent Song

Gabriel sends Mary hurrying to Elizabeth with a child in her womb and wonder in her heart.  One wouldn’t think she could be more filled at the moment.  But the Holy Spirit who has overshadowed her womb spills out all around her.  John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth is filled with awe, wonder and blessing upon blessing for her young relative.  In the end, Mary sings a magna, a song of “great things.”  She sings it with so much beauty and skill that some contemporary biblical scholars believe it was humanly impossible for Mary to have sung it.  Surely the early church later placed it in her mouth.  I tend to approach the issue from a more child-like place.  It was rather impossible for a virgin to bear a child, too.

The song is a masterpiece of biblical poetry.  It begins with the testimony of one hidden woman, and ends with the Word God spoke to Abraham and his seed forever.  Mary looks forward with joy to a church of which she, in hidden humility, has become the vanguard; she looks backward to the God who, remembering his compassion, has never ceased to uphold a small nation called Israel.

But the centerpiece of this crown jewel is verse 51: “He has shown strength in his arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.”   Mary’s God, Yahweh, “He who causes to be,” has initiated his ultimate creative act by begetting his own son in the vulnerable womb of an unmarried girl.

Only One endued with the potency of real creative strength could act with such effectiveness in the midst of weakness.  A lone sojourner with a barren wife becomes the father of many nations, a reluctant shepherd with nothing but a staff and the name of his God becomes the deliverer of his people.  A faithful, but impoverished, daughter-in-law collects left-over grain and becomes the great-grandmother of David.  A monk struggling under the weight of guilt becomes the catalyst for the Reformation…and I find myself pondering the secret places where this strong, creative arm is moving even now.

Mary teaches us this: the contrast to God’s creative power so often manifest in weakness is the illusory strength of the proud who are “scattered in the imagination of their hearts.”  I only wish I didn’t know what that meant.  But I do.  My heart has often been too easily fired by a vivid imagination that creates paper-thin pseudo-reality for a moment (or a year)—only to watch it “scattered” with the first gust of real wind.  

Underneath the beauty and power of the poetry is the wisdom of deeply distilled truth.  Ultimately, Mary paints a portrait of the heart of our God with pristine clarity.  “This song lacks nothing; it is well sung, and needs only people who can say yes to it and wait. But such people are few.” ~David S. Yeago

Father,  please send your Spirit into our hearts, that we may be given wisdom to internalize your priorities, eyes to see their incarnation in our midst, and hearts to wait patiently for that which is hidden to be revealed.

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