The Song of Mary by Pastor Roger Rohde

The Song of Mary

Luke 1:46-55

There are three distinct songs attributed to women in the Bible.  Miriam sang a song of praise to the Lord for delivering the Israelites from Egyptian through the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:21).  There is the song of Hannah, which honors and praises the greatness of God as He watches over His people      (I Samuel 2:1-10).  Then there is the song of Mary that is before us in this morning’s Scripture Reading.

Today we begin a five Sunday reflection upon songs that came forth from men and angels around the time Jesus came to be born into the world.  We will see in each song a pertinent message for us to ponder and carry with us into the New Year.  Looking today at Mary’s song we see how in Christ we have joy as we behold what He has done for us and what He wishes to do through us.  Mary’s song in known as the “Magnificat,” deriving its name from the first word of the song as it appears in the Latin language.

Mary’s song is a song of celebration and praise.  It speaks of glorifying and rejoicing in the God of our salvation.  This song brings us back to the realization of why the worship of God is to be first and foremost in our lives.

When we reflect upon our lives is the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost?  Is magnifying the Lord our top consideration as we make decisions and involve ourselves in activities?  Is it not true, more often than we would like to admit, that our lives are more centered upon ourselves and what we want and desire than they are centered on the will and way of God for our lives?  Many times Jesus is not the focal point of our living and breathing.  Let us then look at Mary’s song further and consider why her glorification and praise of God was front and center in her life.

Mary sang a song of celebration and praise as she recognized what God had done for her.  This point is very important for us to note, because some within the church wish to worship Mary for something she was not.  Mary did not become the bearer of the Christ Child because she was holy and without sin.  She was not favored by God because she was better than other human beings.  Mary acknowledged this in her song of celebration and praise to the Lord: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Mary does not refer to Jesus as her Son, but rather she refers to Him as her Savior.  Mary’s song was not a song to magnify her among men, but to testify to the truth of God’s mercy coming to her and all people.

As we look at Mary’s song we see that she was mindful of her own unworthiness before God.  “Being mindful of her humble state,” as Mary puts it, speaks to her recognition that she was a sinner like everyone else, and that she needed to be saved from her sin just as you and I do.  She saw in Jesus’ coming through her womb an act of God’s mercy and grace to her and all mankind.  He was coming to save her and all of us from our sins, death, and the power of the devil.  Mary sings this song of celebration and praise to the Lord because she delights in God’s mercy toward her.  She stands in amazement that God would come into the flesh to save her and all people who are of such low estate.

Does a lack of magnifying the Lord exist in our lives because the heart of the Christian message has become common place to us?  Do we sometimes not rejoice in the God of our salvation because we have neglected to recall from what God has delivered us and what we now have in Him?  The confession of sins we make each Sunday morning is meant to remind us that we are poor miserable sinners who deserve nothing from the Lord except temporal and eternal punishment.  The blessings that surround us are undeserved.  The forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus is nothing we have earned.  The place we now have in heaven is a pure gift God gave us through His Son, our Savior.  Acknowledging the reality of our sins and what we deserve because of them can open our eyes to the amazing nature by which Christ in His mercy came down to earth to save us.  God help us to recognize and live in the truth of what God has mercifully done for us in sending Christ to be our Savior.

Mary’s song is also a song of celebration and praise because she recognized what God was doing through her.  Mary recognized that as she was to be the bearer of the promised Messiah the Lord wanted to accomplish great things through her.  Through her God was going to extend His mercy and grace unto all generations.

Martin Luther reflected upon this section of the Magnificat by writing:  “God looked upon this poor, despised, lowly maid, when He could easily have found a rich, high noble, mighty queen, a daughter of princes and great lords; so he might have found Annas’ and Caiaphas’ daughters, who were the highest in the country, but upon Mary God cast His purer, good eyes and used such a lowly, despised maid that no one should boast before God.”

How like Mary we are.  There is no great economical or physical reason why God should have called us to serve Him in His kingdom.  Most of us do not come from wealthy families.  Most of us are not known much beyond the communities in which we live.  Our names will not be found in history books.  Yet, like Mary, God chose us common, ordinary people to be used by Him that His salvation may be brought to all mankind.

Are we humbly submitting as Mary did to the calling God has given us?  Do people know Christ better because we have used the mercy of God He has shown us to humbly be used by the Lord in His kingdom?

Mary’s song is a song of celebration and praise recognizing how God’s mercy brought her salvation and used her as a vehicle to bring God’s saving work through Jesus Christ to the world.  May we too sing for Jesus through our words and deeds, living the new live we have in Christ and being of service to God in bringing that message of salvation to others.  Amen.

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