• Office of Christian Formation

Destruction & Creation

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47, ESV)

Throughout my adult life, I have returned to Mary's song time and again. I love to imagine a young woman, a mother-to-be, speaking out with confidence of God’s strength and goodness. I love how countercultural it is, even now. I love how it echoes the words in Isaiah, and how much power and promise is found in this short passage. I love to imagine and wonder what Elizabeth thought about as she heard her young cousin burst with prophecy as her own child “leaped in her womb.” There is much to reflect on, and each time I return to The Magnificat, I find something new to challenge and empower me.

Jesus’ message of caring for “the least of these” is reflected throughout Mary’s Song, as she talks about the hungry receiving “good things” while the rich will be “sent away empty.” Generally, that portion of Mary’s Song is where my heart sits, pondering a God with “strength in his arm,” who lifts those who are oppressed while bringing down those with more power or riches. The paradox of lifting up/bringing down and God’s strength leading to both creation and destruction speaks deeply to my current day life, as if Mary were singing to us today.

But, before Mary even begins to speak of strength and promises and mercy, she speaks of herself. Her opening words in her song declares that her soul “magnifies the Lord, and [her] spirit rejoices in God.” Mary’s trust and love of God is so deep that the world around her can learn about God through her life. This Advent season, I hear that and wonder does my soul MAGNIFY God? Does my spirit show God’s love and care to those around me?

It’s a powerful thing to speak of God’s strength and love – but it is even more powerful to live your life in such a way that God is magnified through you.

Holy Lord, stay close as we move toward Christmas. Thank you for all those in my life who show You to me, and please let my life be one that also magnifies You. Grant me courage and peace as I continue to listen for your song in this world today. AMEN.

-Paris Ball

Artist's Reflection

It’s too easy for us to look at life and even this passage and think it is a simple “us vs. them” and to think “they” need redemption and we do not. We do, we all do. God in His mercy will create in us a new heart, and work in on all levels to bring about His Kingdom and draw us near. We are promised that it will be a process that we have to go through over and over, but we are also promised that His grace and mercy far exceeds our sin.

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