LET ME MAKE GREAT THE NAME OF THE LORD! – now there’s an impressive response, from a young Galilean girl, who’s just heard, she believes, the word of an angel, that she’s to conceive and bear “God with us” into the world. “May I be his handmaid“.

What yearning for brighter days lay in the heart of a prayerful girl, raised in a household that will have observed the world’s injustices with keen eye? What kind of a turning the world upside down would the young girl Mary have been dreaming about? Maybe even praying about? What measure of faith did she possess that allowed for the simple fiat – “May I be his handmaid”? Am I – a girl – to be allowed to play my part? What might that mean, now and in the future, for others hitherto “passed-over”, if each and all are to flower to their fullest divinely-given potential? Ha! – the whole world, every living thing, would be pregnant with messianic possibility!

God with usimagine that. A harsh and demanding black and white world would be raised to new stature, with height and colour, and glory and honour, and music and praise, and unexpected non-conformity, and the push people need towards prayer, and faith and groundedness, and hope, and love. And grandeur. And – incredibly surprising – littleness, too. And the ancient and the youthful. Perspectives would be changed. God’s awe-inspiring art and incarnational creativity would the better be seen in, and through, and for, and all around every living person. A holy human family. Oppressive powers put in their place and the downtrodden raised.

Humankind and mothering, art and craftsmanship, perseverance in the ways of love and of peace – all these, equally, internationally and interfaithfully, will be “living temples to God’s glory”. Imagine the possibilities, the architecture, the shapes and sizes, the breathtakingly stunning irregularities, the angle of the morning light, in a world of living temples. Yes, yes, yes. I’m up for that – Magnificat! What Wisdom lay at the heart of this young woman? – (and she knew full well in advance, women often do, that there’d be a cost to all of this) – What Wisdom lies in the hearts of each of us, on this day of annunciation, still? What Wisdom bides her time until today’s the day. Until the time to well up, like Living Water, healing us, laughing in us, one and all, like an inundation of redeeming joy within?

… new
Patterns from new disorder open like a rose
And old assumptions yield to new sensation;
The Stranger in the wings is waiting for his cue,
The fuse is always laid to some annunciation

from Mutations, Louis MacNeice

God with us in a baby? A Christ-baby? An anointed baby? Any baby? – Magnificat! May I be his handmaid …

The Service Order for Mothering Sunday
at Bramhall Parish Church on 30th March at 10am is here

3 thoughts on “MAGNIFICAT!

  1. I enjoyed reading this, Simon. Good to read a meditation on incarnation, a reality which I fear is often neglected by the Church. Sometimes I hear Christianity reduced to “God came to earth in order to live a sinless life and to die the death we deserved”… and I want to shout “No! It’s about so much more than this…” The wonder of creation, the story of Israel, the glory of “God with us” in the incarnation, the life and teachings of Jesus, the love which was prepared to go all the way to the Cross (“to the loveless shown…so we might lovely be”), the victory over death, the events of Pentecost, breathing new life into all humans…

    I’m glad that Christianity is much bigger and more glorious than some more simplistic presentations. And I’m even more glad that the God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob- and of all creation- is much bigger than the Church or than Christianity!

  2. Thanks Thomas. Good to hear from you again. Yes, yes, yes: “much bigger and more glorious”. Lovely phrase. You know, perhaps you could write a hymn along those lines? Let me know if you have a go … thoughts like yours would be well expressed in some good new congregational hymns. Thanks again.

  3. I may have to try and take you up on that challenge- will keep you posted!

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