Daily Devotion 03 September 2020
Luke 1: 46-55 ‘The Magnificat’
46 And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
It’s commonly assumed that Mary was little more than a girl when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and I love this picture, by Dorothy Hawksley, of the visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, which seems to show her as a bewildered young woman looking for reassurance from her older relative. However, the words she spoke then, which we know as ‘The Magnificat’, are anything but immature. They are a revolutionary statement about our God of justice, mercy and equality. They tell us a lot about why God chose Mary to be the mother of his son.
We know virtually nothing about Jesus’s upbringing. Apart from the account of the Flight into Egypt when he was an infant, there is the one story of him as an adolescent, staying behind in Jerusalem, where he was finally found by Mary and Joseph after a frantic search, sitting in the Temple courts among the teachers, listening to them, asking them questions – and very surprised at the fuss he’d caused: “Surely you knew I had to be in my Father’s house?” he said (Luke 2:49).
As an adult, in the synagogue at Nazareth, the passage from Isaiah that Jesus chose to read reflects the themes of the Magnificat. “He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:19-19)
Parents exercise a great influence on how their children think and behave, particularly perhaps mothers, who teach their youngsters from babyhood onwards, by both word and example. Jesus’ mother understood God to be a God of justice and love, at one with the poor and oppressed, and even if that understanding was already an inborn part of Jesus, we can safely assume that Mary taught him of it too as he was growing up.
Loving heavenly Father,
we pray for all parents as they bring up their children. May they be aware that parenthood means more than feeding and clothing, possessions and holidays; that teaching attitudes to and care for others is vitally important too.
We believe that to know you is the best thing of all. Help us to find the words to bring you, as God of love, justice and mercy, alive to those we meet each day.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.
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