Tuesday 7th December
‘My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,
and my spirit rejoices in you, my Saviour.
For you have looked with favour
upon your lowly servant,
and from this day forward
all generations will call me blessed.
For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me, and holy is your Name.’
Luke 1: 46b – 49
Words, though indispensable, are hardly efficient. Sound attached to ideas to convey their meaning. For most things words suffice and where they don’t, we turn to art: poetry, music, stories or visual mediums to convey what simple utterance cannot.
However there are some words which are too true, too beautiful and too profound to be spoken. Some words had to become flesh.
In Mary’s womb the words that had evaded philosophers and poets alike were forming a body. The cry of all who knew there was a better way was developing fingers and toes. The longings of all who hoped for something greater were beginning to move and kick.
Love was developing a heartbeat. Justice was forming fingers. Mercy now had a face, Hope a body.
Call it profound wisdom or a mother’s intuition, but Mary’s song is a prelude to the Word of God manifesting itself within her. The upside down kingdom where the poor are rich, mourners are blessed and the earth belongs to the meek was coming and its king was growing in her.
She sang that God was going to scatter the proud and elevate the humble. He would fill the hungry with good things, but turn away the rich. He would remember poor, oppressed people forever. These are the words of a revolutionary, not of a teen mom.
Cesar thought himself a god. He demanded Mary and millions of others just like her to be displaced so his subjects could be counted. Mary gave birth to God’s Son, Emanuel in a stranger’s barn.
Herod called himself king of the Jews. He slaughtered children throughout the region to root out its true king. Mary took her son, the true King of Israel, and the King of all Kings and fled to Egypt.
Mary’s revolution would come in its own time and in its own way. For now, Justice needed to be nursed. Peace needed to be swaddled. Love needed to be bounced on her knee.
Andrew Strutzenberg works for Communitas International, whose mission is ‘to start and shape communities of faith who love like Jesus in their neighbourhoods.’ Before coming to Edinburgh, he taught Theology and Ethics at Grandview University in Des Moines, Iowa.