In the Latin text of the Bible, Mary’s song is called the Magnificat and has passed into many beautiful choral settings throughout the ages.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
Magnificat – means to magnify, exalt, glorify – as we read in our translation. It captures the thought of the young woman feeling so small before a God so great. He is magnified, His plan is magnificent and marvellous, and that is certainly worth singing about!
Mary is full of wonder at what God has done and will do. Realising the magnitude of what is going to happen, that His promise is going to come to Israel, and that she, a humble servant, has been chosen to bear the Saviour, the joy just bursts out of her.
We read prophetic words about Jesus’s life – a continuation of God’s work of establishing His kingdom, bringing down rulers, lifting up the humble, filling the hungry and showing mercy to those who fear Him.
This was such a radical message at the time, the Lord commencing His ministry to the humble, the hungry, and the social outcasts by using, in effect, an unmarried mother. And yet Mary can rejoice in the great things that God is doing. Her faith has been captured by the revelation of His mercy, not just to Israel, but to all generations.
While Mary’s song can be read as specifically for her in her role as Jesus’s mother, there is still a sense of if it could happen to her, it can happen to us. To be made part of God’s plan, to be a way in which He spreads His Kingdom, to be recipients of His mercy.
We may have become familiar with this story now, but let us never lose sight of that boundless wonder and joy at the magnificent plans of our God and Saviour. In fact, let that joy burst out of us as the new song that He has put in our hearts. Whether in actual song, or in our life-song, let us magnify the Lord.
Head: Consider how marvellous it must have been to know that the fulfilment of all the years of promise was finally here, on your very own doorstep. How would that make you feel? Catch the excitement of God’s imminent and unfolding plan.
Heart: Regardless of what is going on in your life right now, take a moment to apply Mary’s song to yourself. Catch the assurance that God does great things for you.
Hands: Next time you gather to sing praises to God, remember to smile while singing 😀 Catch the joy of exalting the Lord.
Prayer: I just want to magnify you Lord. Thank you for being so merciful and for making me part of your Kingdom. My soul rejoices in you as my Saviour! Amen
A song to listen to – and today, sing along with it as loud as you can! Rejoice
A bonus song for the chorally minded, I wrote this Grow Daily while listening to John Rutter’s exuberantly joyous setting of the Magnificat – https://youtu.be/F3O_cV4bxRk