This is the second of our posts on Mary, mother of Jesus. You can read Rachel’s post from last week on Mary – Who does God say she is?
This week, we looked at her response to the angel. These verses form the opening of the ‘Magnificat’ – a song that Mary sings in response to God’s message.
I actually think it’s really helpful to look at the first 3 verses together in Luke 1:46-49
‘My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.
We actually looked at verses 46-47 when we studied Joy – you can read the post here.
I have to say, I’ve been on a bit of a journey with this verse. At the start of the week, the words that stood out for me were ‘me’ and ‘for me’. I know we’re trying to stand in Mary’s shoes, and it took me a few days to focus on the main part of the verse: God’s mighty work. In fact, the word ‘mighty’ stood out for other members of the community.
Then my attention was drawn to the qualities of God in this verse – mighty, great and holy. Three incredible qualities of God. Ones that I would quickly and easily pick out to describe Him.
When I consider how young and humble Mary was at this point, this makes God’s work somehow mightier. He chose a young, poor girl – not a princess or a queen. She calls herself ‘his servant.’ Her response seems absolutely awestruck, not self-centred. She is just amazed at what God is going to do for her.
The phrase ‘all generations’ stood out for me too. There is the sense that Mary knows exactly where she is in history – at a momentous turning point. Yes, she has been honoured for generations, in so many, many ways. She’s probably one of the most recognisable women in history – not to mention art. There’s a resonance, too, with Sarah, who was told she would be mother to generations. Mary is the new generation, the New Testament, and it is this announcement that changes everything.
Rachel shared The Message version of these verses:
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
I think that it really helps to study the phrasing in this: it’s not ‘who I am,’ or ‘what I’ve done’ that will never be forgotten; it’s ‘What God has done for me.’ Mary recognises that God has blessed her beyond all her imaginings, and her response is to honour Him.