Dispatch Six

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Second Bundle
Tags: , , , , , ,

LUKE 1:47-55

47 My spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor 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 forever.”

Earlier, Isaiah had energized this living vision of the New Reality by anticipating its future advent among his people. His metaphor of a time and place when final justice would be accomplished, death sponged away, and every grief replaced by joy, helped him and his community transcend their present troubles in order to tap into a higher source of wisdom, hope, and strength.

This hymn of Mary, named the Magnificat for its first word in the Greek text, can help us regain an appreciation and respect for the visionary language of religion. Luke portrays the mother of Jesus in the moment of her convictional experience, when she realizes that the New Reality is breaking into the world of conflict across the threshold of her own life.

Of course, had Mary looked around herself at that moment she would have noticed no significant changes in the actual arrangements of outer reality. The powerful were still on their thrones, and the lowly were still struggling under the afflictions of hunger and oppression. So was it all just fantasy? Was Mary merely reveling in wishful thinking?

For her, the radical transformation that would one day manifest in revolutionary changes to the temporal world of religion, politics, and economics was already coming to pass within her – a new possibility, a new perception, and with it a new fulcrum for world change. Mary’s openness to mystery, and her emptiness of any compulsive need to control the deeper unfolding of her life, served as the birthplace of the New Reality.

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