It’s Magnificat Sunday! This week, we hear Elizabeth’s praise of Mary and her child, and Mary’s song of praise to God. How wonderful to have two female prophets in one worship service! As you speak about God’s call for them and their response, be sure to remember that your congregation includes worshippers who have struggled with infertility, who have lost babies, who desire parenthood but have not yet found a partner or the means by which to become a parent – as well as those who have never wanted to be parents. For Mary and Elizabeth, these pregnancies were blessings, and cause for songs of praise to God! This is not universally the case.
Mary’s song paints a picture of a new world! Imagine what society would look like if the Almighty were to arrive tomorrow and cast down the mighty from their thrones, and fill the hungry with good things. Where would we find ourselves? Would we be among those cast down or lifted up?
While we await the coming (again) of our Savior, perhaps we can start to prepare the world for that great upheaval. How can we fill the hungry and send the rich away empty? Is that even a realistic thing for us to do?
Today’s story of Mary and Elizabeth gives us a tiny glimpse into what the world will look like when so many reversals come to be. Two women, who would otherwise have passed through history without any notice, become prophets and literal bearers of the Word of God. Mary and Elizabeth give us hope for a future in which God’s promises have all been fulfilled.
Though, Mary’s song says that these things have already happened. The mighty and the rich have already been humbled, and the hungry and lowly already lifted up! We know that vast power inequalities still remain in society, but how has God already brought reversal and upheaval to our world? Where can we see this power shift at play? Because that shift seems to be the good news for today.
Of course, there are other RCL Scripture readings for today, and they carry good news as well. Micah speaks of the little town of Bethlehem, from which will come a great ruler. Hebrews describes sanctification through the incarnation, rather than through any rituals or sacrifice.
Which text will be the primary focus of your sermon? What will you do for the children’s time, if that’s an expectation in your setting? Which hymns or pieces of liturgy will reinforce the themes of Scripture and the end of the season of Advent? Please share your thoughts and suggestions below. Many blessings to you during this busy week and this busy season, as we prepare for the coming of Christ!
Katya Ouchakof is an ELCA pastor in Madison, WI. This Advent, she is finding joy in family time, writing Christmas cards, and looking forward to seeing RevGal colleagues at the Big Event in January!
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