The Divine Partner


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Divine Partner
Luke 1:46b-50


The magnificat, Mary’s famous song of praise, invites us into her experience of hope during her pregnancy. She speaks of God raising her up from her “lowliness,” contrasting her own humility with God’s greatness. Then the turn in the second half is to recognize other groups that Mary identifies with: the lowly, the hungry, the servant. She sees the parallel between a mighty God who is lifting her up and a merciful God who is lifting up all who are under the boot of empire. The celebration of justice in the past, and the hope for true justice in the future, define this text, and we can now lean into the hope of justice for our times as well. Let this God draw near — and soon. 
There’s another relationship in play. It strikes me that Mary is speaking about, and to, a God with whom she has entered an unusual relationship: she is at least partly speaking to her co-parent. And she’s not pleading. Mary is praising God, reminding herself of God’s past goodness, and she might be telling herself that she will be alright. She might even be appealing to God that God remember her. She calls on God’s mercy, God’s helpfulness, God’s promise-keeping: all excellent qualities in a co-parent. And she reminds God that she is the heir to this promise to Abraham, that she is a partner in the covenant, and that both of them have a part in keeping the promise of relationship alive. Mary is bold in speaking her hopes for this relationship, and her willingness to partner with a God who is alive, active, and seeking justice for the oppressed now.
Pastor Katherine GrayBuck, Church of the Apostles
MDiv 2013, San Francisco Theological Seminary