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Posts Tagged ‘Mary’s Magnificat’

(One of Wilson Alwyn Bentley‘s photos)

 

Remember your first glimpse of a snowflake under a magnifying glass and your reaction to its tiny intricacies? I’ll bet your eyes grew wide and you leaned in for a close-up view. You probably uttered Wow! or Look at that!

And perhaps while gazing at such infinitesimal beauty you learned:

 

Only when we examine something closely

can we begin to appreciate its value.

 

Scripture urges us to magnify God.

 

 

To magnify God is to look closely at him and take careful notice of his actions and attributes. Mary, the mother of Jesus, did exactly that. We read an example in the account of her visit to Cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56).

Elizabeth was much older than Mary, well beyond child-bearing age. But like Sarah of the Old Testament, God had intervened for her. Elizabeth would soon be the mother of John the Baptist.

 

 

When Mary first arrived and offered her greeting, Baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41). (Can you imagine how that would feel, to have a baby jump inside you?)

Elizabeth responded with a blessing for Mary and the holy baby her young cousin carried. Then Mary became overcome with joy and incredulity herself, and burst into praise. Her song is called the Magnificat, Latin for magnifies.

For ten verses (Luke 1:46-55), Mary magnifies the Lord, examining the reason for her joy (vs. 46-49) and looking closely at God’s attributes and actions (50-55). Never mind her relative poverty, the misunderstanding and derision of others, or the uncertainty of the future. Mary focused on God who was working a miracle within her.

 

 

If your Bible includes cross-references you’ll notice Mary quoted bits and pieces of seven psalms. In addition, she included fragments from Isaiah, Habakkuk, Exodus, Genesis, 2 Samuel, and Jeremiah.

It would appear Mary wove such far-spread scriptures into this beautiful prayer–on the spot! She must have been an intelligent young woman.

Perhaps she grew up in a godly home where the Law and Prophets were highly esteemed. Her parents may have taught her or, if she had brothers, Mary listened as they recited their lessons, and she too learned the ancient scriptures.

Now as Mary and Elizabeth greet one another, the young woman rejoices in God her Savior. She highlights his mercy, might, faithfulness, holiness, and saving power.

 

 

And yet in spite of his awesome greatness the Mighty One has been mindful of her—a humble, peasant girl. He has done great things on her behalf. Notice she prays in past tense, as if the events Gabriel announced had already taken place (v. 49).

Then Mary itemizes specific ways God benefits his people:

  • He extends mercy to those who reverence him
  • He performs mighty deeds
  • He has scattered the proud
  • He has brought down rulers, but lifted up the humble
  • He has filled the hungry, but sent the rich away empty
  • He has been merciful to Israel

We too are God’s people, if we believe in his Son, Jesus. And he benefits his people in these same ways today just as he has through all the eons of time.

No doubt God has been at work in your life too. He’s been mindful of you and blessed you (v. 48); he’s done great things for you (v. 49) and extended his mercy to you (v. 50).

 

 

View the activity of God in your life through the magnifying glass of meditation. Take note of his actions and attributes on display in the events of your life. And then please share with us an example in the comment section below.

Let us magnify the Lord together for his awesome deeds!

 

(Revised and reblogged from 12-20-2012.)

 

Art & photo credits:  http://www.metmuseum.org; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.heartlight.org; http://www.pixabay.com (2).

 

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Can you remember the first time you studied a snowflake under a magnifying glass? What was your reaction to those delicate intricacies of pattern?

Or how about your first glimpse through a microscope at a drop of pond water? Suddenly you were viewing infinitesimal, squiggly creatures you never knew existed. Chances are your responses included “Wow!” “Look at that!” “I can’t believe it!”

And perhaps that’s when you learned: Only when we examine something closely can we begin to appreciate its value.

Like our Heavenly Father.

Scripture urges us to “magnify” God: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3, KJV, RSV).

To magnify God is to look closely at Him and take careful notice of his actions and attributes. Mary did exactly that, when she visited her cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was much older than Mary, well beyond child-bearing age. But like Sarah of the Old Testament, God had intervened for her. Elizabeth would be the mother of John the Baptist.

When Marry first arrived and greeted her cousin, Baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. (I’m not exaggerating. That’s the exact word in Luke 1:41, NIV. Can you imagine how it would feel to have a baby jump inside you?)

Elizabeth responded with a blessing for Mary and the baby she carried. Mary was so overcome with joy and incredulity, she burst into praise. Her song is called the Magnificat. (See Luke 1:39-45 for more details.)

For ten verses, Mary magnifies the Lord, examining the reason for her joy (vs. 46-49) and looking closely at God’s attributes and actions (50-55) that contribute to her joy. If your Bible includes cross references you’ll notice that Mary recites a varied collection of verses from the psalms, specifically from chapters 34, 138, 71, 103, 98, and 132.

Take note: that’s six psalms. It would seem she chose appropriate thoughts, and wove them together into this beautiful prayer. On the spot, no less! Dare I suggest that Mary was a highly intelligent young woman?

Such an ability would also indicate Mary grew up in a godly home where scripture was highly esteemed. Her family evidently took to heart the words of Psalm 1:2, “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Full of emotion, Mary rejoiced in God, her Savior. He had been mindful of her, a humble peasant girl. God had blessed her beyond imagining, to be the mother of the Messiah.

Then Mary itemized specific ways God had benefited all his people:

• He extends mercy to those who reverence him (v. 50)
• He has performed mighty deeds (v. 51)
• He has scattered the proud (v. 51)
• He has brought down rulers, but lifted up the humble (v. 52)
• He has filled the hungry, but sent the rich away empty (v. 53)
• He has been merciful to Israel (vs. 54-55)

Has God been at work in your life, perhaps in similar ways? Has God been mindful of you and blessed you (v. 48)? What great things has He done for you (v. 49)? Has his mercy been extended to you (v. 50)?

View the activity of God in your life through the magnifying glass of meditation.

Feel free to comment below, and share with us your observations!

Here’s another idea to consider: as a Christmas gift to your Savior, write a Magnificat of your own.

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