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Influenced by the Latin version that's what the song of the virgin Mary is called when she magnified the Lord in Luke 1:45-55. It's a sweet song by a holy young virgin girl who was now mothering the Savior who was growing within her. And who is this that is praising the Lord? A teenage girl from peasant (and yet a royal) stock. But it's more than sweet and wooing, it is world-defying and God-trusting.
This is a girl who knows what trouble is. Her grandmother would no doubt have heard that in 63 BC the Roman general, Crassus, had crucified 6,000 followers of Spartacus along the side of the main road leading into Rome. And she would certainly have known that Pompey about the same time strode into Palestine and tore down the northern wall of Jerusalem and violated the Holy of Holies by entering it. Mary would have known what Herod the Great, Rome 's eager servant, had been doing with Jewish revolutionaries and all those who wouldn't turn the bandits in to the authorities. And in the very year that she bore this child of hers (probably 4 BC) Mary would have known that Varrus crucified 2,000 Jews near Magdala, in the Galilean area, before he moved south to burn Sepphoris and Emmaus to the ground. This was no child of silks and satins and she knew what garrison towns were like and how the forces of occupation oppressed the people.
And she sings a song of joyful and assured defiance.
She thanks God for his goodness to her, of course, but she knows full well that his having done something for her means he has all the voiceless and vulnerable in mind. “You think God only cares for me?” she seems to say. “Rubbish! I am a single illustration of how he feels toward us all. You are supposed to look at me and think, ‘God has not forgotten any of us'.”
We might be tempted to think that it's all very well for Hannah (1 Samuel 1) and Mary to exult, but when's it going to be our turn? That makes sense! It isn't always easy to rejoice in the blessing of others when your own situation is driving you to the wall. Still, in our better moments, unless these people crow over their good news or dramatic rescue, we're happy for them, aren't we?! We control the temptation to be jealous and wish these fellow-strugglers the very best in their good fortune. So it should be and so often that's how we feel. And it's one of the finer things about us.
But the good news is--and this is what Hannah and Mary say to us--those that God has blessed are living witnesses that he has forgotten none of us. The answer to the question, “When will it be my turn?” isn't given a specific answer in the song but there is a definitive answer to the question, Will it ever be my turn?” The answer is yes! The answer is yes because the God of Hannah and Mary and of our Lord Jesus Christ is faithful to his commitment to the human family. And the ultimate and conclusive proof of that is Jesus Christ, his cross and resurrection and the added reminder is the blessing of people all around us.
Tell God you don't want to be jealous and that you'll join with Mary in singing a song of defiance and trust in the face of a sneering, jeering world!