As we enter into Advent, we are reminded of a familiar image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a servant ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.’(Luke 1.38) Here at the heart of the story of God is a young woman, promised to her boyfriend but-not yet-married, showing faith like no other. Her grace, humility and beauty are astounding. But if we read just a little further, we reach Mary’s Song – the Magnificat. Her song though is not a lullaby, or pretty poetry it as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazis, said “the most passionate, the wildest, one might even say the most revolutionary hymn ever sung.”
Above is Ben Wildflower’s new image of Mary, that shows her to be a mighty woman of God. For on the lips a pregnant teenage unmarried girl is the call of God ‘who scatters the proud, brought down mighty kings, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away.’ (Luke 1.46-55) Mary’s words challenge us even today, to be conscious that God came to and was born into the lowly. Church is not for the rich, proud and mighty but for girls like Mary on whom the Lord’s favour rests.
May we likewise seek to uphold these values as God’s church during Advent. As we give and share with our community, meeting old faces and new, may we be confident of the Kingdom of God that is built upon Jesus Christ. May we have Mary’s courage to challenge power, poverty and false pride in our own lives and in our country and world. May we see Mary differently and may our delight in God be that he chooses us to serve him in the same way today.