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Luke 1:46b-55

The first thing that struck me about this particular lectionary reading is that it officially begins with Luke 1:46b: “My soul glorifies the Lord…” Of course, these words matter deeply, but the context of this song cannot fully be grasped if we do not first return to the source. This is not a generic exclamation for all to claim as their own. No, there is an actual narrative, and it does little good to hear the words of another if we do not recognize their very identity. So instead, let’s begin with Luke 1:46a, today: And Mary said…”


Mary…


Early adolescent Mary, who has just been approached by an angel who conveyed the news that she has been chosen by God to carry his son…


Greatly trouble, perplexed Mary, who cannot even fathom how this is a possibility but is assured that even her elderly relative is now pregnant, because anything is possible with God…


Willing Mary, who gives her consent and then does not walk but runs to make sure that story is true…


Validated Mary, who is greeted by Elizabeth and her unborn child, who corroborate the angel’s story…


Then, and only then, does Mary craft this song of praise, power, and redemption, perhaps with a sigh of relief.


Now, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”


In many ways, Mary’s words that follow have been responsibly translated for us, and they are fairly straightforward. But as is often the case when we return to the original language, there are some fascinating turns of phrase in this passage which hold multiple meanings and bring a weight to Mary’s song which is easy to miss.