23 Days of Advent Day 11- Final Focus on Mary

For Advent our church has been doing a sermon series called “In Focus”.   Our Christmas season is often so cluttered and chaotic that the real story and the real miracle just passes us by.   For the past few days, here in the blog,  we have been bringing Mary into focus, taking a good look at the young girl chosen to be the mother of Jesus.  We will take one more day, one final focus on Mary.  We do that by looking at the Magnificat.  It is Mary’s response to Elizabeth; it is Mary’s response to God.   Elizabeth has blessed Mary and in this speech, Mary will accept that blessing and share it with the world. 

 It is beautiful and poetic verse filled with praise and acceptance and trust in God.   Still, when we focus on these verses, we see it is much more.  

With focus and a little digging those first two lines give us incredible insight into the miracle that is unfolding as God comes to earth.  The CEB translation says: “With all my heart, I glorify the Lord.”   That is easy enough to grasp.  It is the next line that resonates with a deeper message.  “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Sounds simple enough until you look closely at different translations and at the original Greek.   “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” in the NRSV translation reads “In the depths of who I am, I rejoice in God…” in the CEB translation.    Focus on the words “spirit” and “the depths of who I am.”     While “depths of who I am”, correctly signals something heavier, or deeper,  the Greek word Luke uses is ”pnuema” which means spirit. Spirit is one of those words that has become so overused that it is difficult for us to grasp what might be doing on here as Luke uses the word “pnuema”.  “It’s the same Greek word used for the Holy Spirit, so the Holy Spirit and the human spirit unite.”  (Light of the World Amy-Jill Levine).   The divine spirit or Holy Spirit is uniting with human spirit in Mary.  Which is not hard to imagine because this very human being is carrying the divine, the son of God inside her.   Not hard to imagine, but radical.  

Later in the verse we see all kinds of references to the teachings of Jesus.  “brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly”, “filled the hungry… and sent the rich away.”  Sounds like Jesus to me.

In these beautiful verses from Mary, we get insight into what it will mean to have God on earth through Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit and the human spirit combine and a whole new perspective on life is coming.  Mary knows it; she feels it… as only a mother can.    

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