Read Luke 1:39-56
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And 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 mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
If you remember the TV show Quincy, you might recall that every episode involved a plot that unfolded in the following manner:
- A hint at a problem would be revealed; which would give way to
- The real problem – much more serious, challenging, and compelling; then would follow
- A clue! The case begins to come together in spite of the challenges of the real problem. Then would come
- The solution: the case was solved; whereupon
- Everyone would go to the local bar and have a drink in celebration of the case being closed.
It was like clockwork – or better yet – like the classical plot of many tales and stories. It can be outlined as Opps! Ugh! Aha! Whee! Yeah. So says Eugene Lowry, homiletics professor whose book The Homiletical Plot offers that outline – complete with a graphic:
Mary’s story has a similar plot but a significantly-different “Yeah!” She will not head to the local pub for a drink once the mystery is solved (the mystery being how a virgin will conceive and bear a son: she will have a baby because the Holy Spirit will come over her, conceiving the Son of God). Rather she goes to visit her cousin and once there sings a song of praise to God.
This is a song of deep gratitude to God, expressing the right-siding of all the upside-down things of the world. The strong and mighty who have put down the poor and needy will be brought low and the hungry and humble will be lifted up. Those who do not presume to tell us how the world really works will discover that not only were they justified in letting God run the universe, but those who claimed that they had all the answers had no answer at all. They will have no words to say when confronted by God (cf. Romans 3:19).
All glory goes to God. All honor is his alone. People will recognize Mary’s favor as the blessing from God that it is. Those who would judge her will discover that they have no foot to stand on. Those who wait for God’s deliverance will find peace. Thanks be to God!