Monday, August 23, 2010

Magnificat Dynamite

In Luke 1.46ff  Mary says, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name."

Here we have a passage which has become one of the great hymns of the church called the Magnificat. It is saturated in the Old Testament, and is specially close to Hannah's song of praise in 1 Sam 2:1-10. (N.I.V.) which says in part, "Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God."
Stanley Jones has said, "the Magnificat is the most revolutionary document in the world." There are three great revolutions brought about by God in people's hearts. Verse 51 says, "He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts." Christianity is the death of pride, and the greatest of sins is pride. That is a Moral Revolution. Why? Because if a person sets their life beside that of Christ the last vestiges of pride are torn away. Sometimes something happens to shame a person with a vivid, revealing light.
O. Henry tells a story about a lad who was brought up in a village. In school, he used to sit beside a girl and they were very fond of each other. Later in life, he moved to the city and eventually became a pickpocket and a petty thief. One day, he snatched an old lady's purse. It was a clever piece of work and he was pleased with himself. But then he saw coming down the street the girl whom he used to know, still sweet and radiant with innocence. Burning with shame, he leaned his head against a lamp standard and said, "God, I wish I could die!" He saw himself for what he was.

Christ enables a person to see him or herself for what he or she can be. It is the death blow to pride. The moral revolution in the heart has begun.

Then there is a Social Revolution, the Magnificat in Verse 52 reads, "He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble." He casts down the mighty and he exalts the humble. Christianity puts an end to the world's labels and prestige. Upper class, middle class and working class any kind of prejudice or pride melts away.

A scholar named Muretus wandered around Europe during the Middle Ages. He was very poor. In an Italian town, he took ill and was taken to a hospital for waifs and strays. The doctors were discussing his case in the upper class language, Latin, never dreaming Muretus could understand. They suggested that since he was such a worthless wanderer they might use him for medical experiments. He looked up and answered them in their own learned tongue, "Call no one worthless for whom Christ died!"

When we realize what Christ has done for us, it is no longer possible to speak about a common person. The social grades are gone. We are all special and unique and equal in God's sight.

Then there is an Economic Revolution. The Magnificat in Verse 53 reads, "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." The hungry are fed ... the rich are sent empty away. That is an Economic Revolution. Our society is a society where each person is out to amass as much as he or she can. A Christian society is a society where no one has too much while others have too little. Everyone must get in order to give away.

There is a loveliness in the Magnificat but in that loveliness there is dynamite. Christianity gives birth to a revolution in each one of us and that in turn brings revolution to our local community, our country and eventually to the world.
That's what I think anyway,

Rev Ron

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