Preaching the whole Magnificat

From the God's Politics blog entry by Nadia Bolz-Weber.

As Rev. Bolz-Weber points out, many churches this week, or during the Advent season, have heard the song of Mary, mother of Jesus, from the first chapter of Luke. "Magnificat" is the Latin name of the song, where Mary starts out "My soul magnifies the Lord."

Many today sing Woody Guthrie's anthem "This Land is Your Land," oblivious to the full lyrics that make the song not a "patriotic hymn," but rather a protest full of anger at the politics of economic division. Similarly, many who sit in our comfortable church pews get lost in the submission of the young Mary to what she sees as God's will.

But read these words from the New International Version:

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.

Bolz-Weber observes:

Maybe in Mary’s song the wealthy are sent away empty because we simply don’t need God. We’ve got plenty of daily bread and seem to be able to handle most stuff that comes our way. But the truly hungry carry none of these illusions of self-sufficiency. It is our hunger which God feeds, not our fullness. The rich are left hungry because there is no entry point for God.

I'm not skilled with wordsmithing, but it seems to me there is an important message in the Magnificat -- the "Whole Magnificat" -- that speaks to progressives.


Verses we didn't learn in elementary school...

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR