This past Sunday Deb preached about God’s judgment of love that we await during Advent, and this Sunday one of our texts is the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise to God for deliverance from oppression.
One of the interesting things about the Magnificat is that, although none of the acts of salvation Mary sings about are visibly apparent yet, she speaks of them in the past tense:
You have shown the strength of your arm, *
you have scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise you made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Although the promise is still a seed, hidden in the womb of Mary, she and Elizabeth rejoice as if it has all already happened, as if it is a foregone conclusion that God has already saved us all.
This is the duality of Advent, I think: we wait and pray and lament, acknowledging that our salvation is not yet fulfilled, AND we rejoice in hope, confident that salvation has been accomplished once for all in the incarnation of Jesus.
In all that we are waiting for individually and as a community, let’s hold longing and rejoicing together in this final week of Advent, perhaps by praying the Magnificat each evening from now until Christmas.
Grace and peace,