Friday, August 15, 2008

Insurrectionist God

Today's devotional from Forward Day by Day is a fitting one for this Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

FRIDAY, August 15
Saint Mary the Virgin

Luke 1:46-55. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree. (RSV)

The Song of Mary, or Magnificat, often recited at Evening Prayer and sung at Evensong in Anglican churches, adds an unsettling twist to the popular picture of Mary as reticent, meek, surrounded by a warm glow, and dressed in pastel blue. It's true that Mary submitted to God-"I am the handmaid of the Lord"-but then she sang a song that has her God turning the world upside down,scattering the proud, knocking rulers off their thrones, and impoverishing the rich. Mary's God is an insurrectionist.

Those living in wealthy, powerful countries and assuming this is the God-approved order of things should be leery of Mary's God. Nations that use military force to impose their will, tell others how to order their lives and govern themselves, and enjoy luxurious comforts while others work in sweat shops or have no jobs at all might be living more dangerously than they know. Mary's act of obedience to God took her to unexpected places. If we are similarly obedient, where might it take us? And if we are not?

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