In this holiday season, I’ve been intrigued by the Song of Mary in Luke (1:26), wherein the angel Gabriel tells Mary to get ready for the birth of a son whom she must name Jesus.
Mary sang forth in joy, according to Luke (1:46-55), “From now on all generations will call me blessed.” Mary was neither over-confident nor prideful, but was expressing wonder and gratitude at the gift bestowed upon her, to become the mother of His only begotten son.
Mary’s Song, commonly known as the Magnificat, speaks of God’s favor to the poor and His judgment upon the rich. Scholars find the Song significant, calling as it does for moral, social and economic revolution. Luke (1:51) tells us, “He scatters the proud in the plans of their hearts.”
Mary’s Song heralds the dawn of a moral revolution. Christianity is the death-knell of pride. By setting our lives beside that of Christ, our false pride will be torn away, exposing us as we truly are. Our moral revolution must begin within.
In Mary’s Song we find, “He cast down the mighty – He exalts the humble” (Luke 1:52). This is a direct reference to social revolution. Christianity puts an end to the deceptive and misleading concept of prestige. When we believe Christ died for all, we shed all social distinctions.
Finally, Mary’s Song argues for an economic revolution. She said, “He has filled those who are hungry and those who are rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53). When our societal focus is upon the acquisition of things, each man will seek to gather as much as he can for himself, destroying the concept of a Christian community. The mission of Christians is to share the gifts of the temporal world, knowing they yield no glory for the possessor unless given away.
Christianity is a fire, a revolution that God was sent to start in our hearts. It is the same blaze that John the Baptist promises us in Luke (3:16), from which Christ will baptize us.
The paradox of blessedness is that it confers both a great joy and a great responsibility. Many like to believe that gifts bestowed upon them arrive as a consequence of luck, superior intelligence, or from hard work alone. Blessings of all kinds derive from and can be taken away by God.
The gospel is also a paradox – The Good News is more than good tidings, happiness and peace!
To be blessed is to be chosen by God. At one and the same time, an individual blessed can wear the crown of joy and hang from a cross of sorrow.
God doesn’t choose for an individual a life of ease, comfort or of selfish achievement. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, reminded us in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, “God chooses us for the task of bringing Him glory.”
God chooses us in order to use us, and when we are used by God, from then on, all generations will call us blessed.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.