Revolution Song: Part 2

In my previous article I introduced the idea that Mary’s Song, also known at The Magnificat, is essentially a Revolution Song. Her song can be categorized as revolutionary because the actions of God that it describes are radical, and we first notice that God is radically personal. To see part one of this series click here. The next section we will look at is found in Luke 1:51-53:

51 He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.

Here we see that God promotes radical justice.

Rich and Poor
In Mary’s society, the proud people were frequently the ruling rich; and the humble were the oppressed poor. Now this is not to say that there is anything intrinsically wrong with people being rich, or anything intrinsically good about being poor. But in most societies we see those with the money and power rule over the poor and the weak, and it is often done in an unjust, proud, and oppressive way.

And that is where the subversive nature of this song is seen mostly clearly, and this is why so many governments have seen this song as a threat to the establishment. As one writer said:

“Mary anticipates that the Messiah will bring about ‘wondrous reversals’ in the world. Mary envisions God’s anointed one upsetting the status quo by turning virtually everything upside down. He is one who inverts human structures and values.”[1]

In other words, even before Jesus was born, Mary was announcing the very same upside down kingdom that Jesus would announce. And he would one day say:

“Blessed are the poor, and woe to the rich”
“The last shall be first”
“The greatest among you must be a servant of all”

And we see Jesus fulfill these ideals in his ministry as he:

Challenges and rebukes the religious and political leaders…
Feeds the hungry…
Heals the blind, the lame, and the sick…
Raises the dead…
Spends time with prostitutes and tax collectors…

And on top of all that, his greatest, most subversive, most upside down act was to submit himself to death on the cross. Jesus would embody these words of Mary by reversing everything in the most radical way imaginable: The long awaited king allowing himself to be shamed, tortured, and executed by the state. And in so doing he was identifying with everyone who has been trampled on and treated unjustly in society. And beyond that, he was toppling the mighty and the proud from their thrones, whether they knew it or not.

These prophetic elements of justice came true through Mary’s pregnancy…
They were made true in the life of Jesus…
They are made true is our lives…
They will ultimately come true at the restoration of all things…

So in the meantime…

We commit to be people who feed the hungry, physically and spiritually…
We lift up the weak and challenge the pride of the powerful…
We resist the system and society that worships wealth and self-satisfaction…
We, like Jesus, embody this message in self-sacrifice…

Mary’s song is revolutionary because God’s actions are radical, and God promotes radical justice.
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[1] https://medium.com/@MedievalMJJ/alternative-carol-service-f2140ab6cd36

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