Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mary's Manifesto

Mary was more than a Mom; she was a poet and a theologian.  Mama, you can be too!  ChristmasMary was amazing.  We remember her heavy with child traveling to Bethlehem; we imagine her cradling her infant son in a stable, and we see her fleeing slaughter with her husband to Egypt.  But sometimes we forget she wasn’t just a mom, she was a poet.

We call her song the Magnificat.  But at its heart, it is Mary’s manifesto, her doctoral thesis in theology.  Her statement of what it means to be the maidservant of the Lord.  

            My soul exalts the Lord,
      And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
      For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
            For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
      For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
            And holy is His name.
      He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
            He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
      He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
            And has exalted those who were humble.
            And sent away the rich empty-handed.
       He has given help to Israel His servant,
            In remembrance of His mercy,
      As He spoke to our fathers,
            To Abraham and his descendants forever.
Luke 1:46-55

Mary packs each line with meaning.  She rejoices that God has used her in His great plan.  She announces that He is mighty and faithful, and He works to reverse the social order.  He will not allow the weak to be trampled on by the strong. He has not and never will forget His people.

In a wonderful book I read recently*, the author suggested that if you look carefully at the Magnificat can see how her   theology echoes down into her sons’ teachings.  Think on that a while.  

When Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied" His emphasis echoes His mother as well as His father (Luke 6: 20-21).

When James says, “But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away,” it sounds remarkably like Mary.  I wonder was he transported back to childhood?  Did he hear his mother’s voice singing the song she wrote? (James 1:9-11)

When Mary was faced with life-altering change, when she was given a mission by God the likes of which the world had never seen, she responded with poetry and theology.  She reminds us there is more to being a woman than loading the dishwasher and changing diapers. She looked deep into the heart of God and passed her faith on to those little people she was privileged to raise. She is the standard for all of us.

Mama, I know you are busy today. God gave you people to raise.  But in the midst of diaper rash, dust bunnies, or dirty clothes, please don't forget you are on a mission from God. Be Mary.  Remember you aren't a maid; you are the handmaid of the Lord! 


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*Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman's Soul" by Aubry G. Smith



  1. Beautiful, encouraging, original thoughts!

  2. Thanks for this great tribute to Mary -- we Protestants have a tendency to overlook her incredible role in the incarnation.

    1. Yes! We can appreciate her on her own merits without worrying about other groups theology! :)

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  4. This is a lovely reminder that our kids are watching us. Real legacy is passed down in the day to day. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. An inspiring woman for sure. Something to remember as this season nears.

  6. I've never thought about how Mary's understanding of God influenced the focus of her Son's teachings about God. Very interesting, Helene!

  7. I thought the same thing - you hear about God's influence on his son's teachings, but you have to imagine that in the human world, his mother played an invaluable part in his life. Very thought-provoking.