Mary’s Song Word on the Week 17th December 2022.
Have you ever burst out in spontaneous singing? Has the Joy of the Lord ever reached your lips in an unrestrained way? There was a time in my life when it happened frequently. For obvious reasons it was when I was alone in the car!
In Mary’s case it happened in the midst of the miraculous! Herself pregnant, she had gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was in her 6th month. When they met the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth enabling her to ‘see’ that Mary’s baby was the Lord Jesus. She also recognised Mary’s faith in what the Angel had passed on to her. The message was that of virgin birth (St Luke Chapter 1 verses 26 to 38).
Out of this cumulative blessings came the song known as the Magnificat. The title comes from the desire to magnify the Lord in a majestic worship song. She expresses joy in God her Saviour recognising her own sinfulness and believing the Angels choice of name – Jesus, indicated his calling…to save his people from their sins (St Matthew Chapter 1 verse 21).
It was a time of singing. Elizabeth’s husband, Zachariah the priest waxed eloquent in a song in which his son, recognised by the Holy Spirit, would prepare the way for Jesus. In it he predicted that his son (John the Baptist) would present an alternative way for people to get right with God. This John did with his baptism for repentance (St Luke Chapter 1 Verses 68 to 79).
There was also Simeon’s song. Moved by the Holy Spirit he was led to Mary and Joseph who had brought Jesus there for the child’s Temple ritual. His song of salvation included the Gentiles (St Luke Chapter 2 verses 28 to 32). Finally, we have the Angelic choir appearing to the shepherds Praising God and promising peace with God to those on whom his favour rests (St Luke Chapter 2 Verses 13 /14).
Returning to Mary’s psalm (like many psalms she starts praising God then explains why he should be praised) we can see echoes of Hannah’s great prayer of joy at giving birth to a son for the Lord (1 Samuel Chapter 2 verse 1 to 10).
Bearing in mind that Mary was probably in her early teens she must have been well read in the scriptures. There are lines inspired from a number of Psalms, Genesis, Job and Jeremiah to name a few. Her hymn of praise ends in recalling the promise to Abraham that a seed (singular) had now arrived and was growing in her (Mary’s) womb (Genesis Chapter 12 verse 7 and Galatians Chapter 3 verse 16).
Such a time – she would probably have sung ‘Joy to the World’ had it been around!