Rejoice, Rejoice | Joy

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Luke 1: 46-56

In one of my classes during my doctoral studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, we had to figure out how to make the scripture come alive for our congregations. Our group was assigned the passage in Luke 1, often referred to as The Magnificat.

The passage shows that somehow this girl, child Mary, was well-acquainted with her scriptures; she also had a depth of understanding beyond her teenage years as to the mission and purpose of God’s in-breaking into human history in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

On that January morning, we read it a few times together as a group to hear it in some new ways. The women run to greet one another, excited to be together since they lived in different towns and wouldn’t have had much time or opportunity to visit. Mary bursts into this marvelous poem spontaneously in the midst of greeting, catching up with, and embracing her cousin, Elizabeth. This is girl talk. These beautiful words, spoken to glorify God, were spoken in the midst of an intimate and life-giving conversation. These two women had both been given incredible gifts from God, which sometimes felt more like a burden than a gift.

Elizabeth would have a child in her later years, for she was well past the normal age for childbearing. Mary was at the other end of the spectrum, a young teenage girl and yet able to submit herself fully to God for the sake of God’s intervention in history. She did so, risking the condemnation of her family and friends. Seeing this passage in the context of two women greeting one another in love and sharing each other’s joy and apprehension gives it a whole new twist for me. I now hear and understand this text differently. I think of the many conversations I’ve had with friends over the years, life-giving conversations of encouragement and grace, challenging words that helped me grow, and words of unconditional love that surrounded me, even when I didn’t deserve it.

Yes! That’s makes perfect sense that God would use these two faithful women to keep each other strong. I am thankful for the women in my life who journeyed with me, even as Mary and Elizabeth journeyed together. Rev. Gabrielle Martone, Pearl River UMC

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the amazing and wonderful people in my life who journey with me, encourage me, and help me to stay faithful to you and your call on my life. I ask your very special blessing on them today that we might strive to hold each other accountable to stay of good courage in the midst of life’s obstacles. In Christ, we pray, Amen.

Written by Rev. Kay Dubuisson

Here is a link to one of the many Magnificat songs in the world.