By the time the girl Mary, now pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who was six months into her own miraculous pregnancy, she obviously had spent some time thinking about her situation. She had figured out some of what it meant that God had chosen Elizabeth, a barren woman, and herself, an unmarried girl, to bring into existence a prophet and the Messiah. The two of them would change history—change the whole world—by carrying life within them and then giving birth.
Why do I think Mary had thought about all of this? Just read what she says after Elizabeth has greeted her:
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’ (Luke 1:46-55, NRSV)
This girl has caught on that God’s love is about turning systems upside down, about showing mercy and feeding the hungry. God will bring down the powerful and lift up the lowly. Mary should know!
I believe that every woman possesses her own song about who God is. What is your song? Do you know the words? Have you sung it lately?