The Magnificat

As a Protestant church, we tend to give Mary a wide berth! But in doing so we can lose one of the clearest definitions of faith which she illustrates - the obedience of faith to God’s word.

Peter Baker | 09:20, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Contemporary Mary

I was thinking about this as I was enjoying the recent Church Tiddlywinks Nativity production. Mary was very grumpy throughout. The fact that the donkey was chasing her around the piano didn't help. But when baby Jesus arrived, courtesy of the narrator who handed over the plastic doll, Mary refused to hold it and Joseph wasn't that impressed either.  I smiled and realised how unlike the first Mary it was. 

There she was, a teenager understandably nervous about the news that she was pregnant and about to be a single mother, yet in her recorded response she said to God, "Let it be according to your word."

What obedient faith!  How unlike us (me anyway!). We resist God’s truth, finding it too uncomfortable, demanding or challenging. But not Mary. We do well to imitate her. 

I read to the staff this week and commented upon Mary's Magnificat from Luke 1:46 ff. Here is the way to respond to the promise of the Incarnation - with wonder and worship. We, who have heard it all before, need to be captured again by the sheer magnitude of the Christmas event. For it remains central to our faith, without the crib there is no cross, without the incarnation there is no redemption. It all starts there in the stable. 

The Annunciation

I enjoyed an Advent service at New College, Oxford recently. It was full of the music of Mozart, Bach, Taverner and Rachmaninov and the poetry of John Donne. Perhaps he more than anyone, in his work La Coruna, explored the grand narrative of Bethlehem and Mary’s part in it all. "Yea thou art now, Thy Maker's maker and thy Father's mother, Thou hast light in dark, and shutt'st in little room Immensity, cloister'd in thy dear womb".

This is the glorious truth we proclaim to the world! There is no other like it. So let us magnify the Lord like Mary. 


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