God’s preposterous promise

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty- handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy,  just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.” ~Luke 1:46-55 (CEB)

“Mary’s song of praise must have been a shock- even to Elizabeth and surely to everyone else who heard it. It bordered on treason and blasphemy and must have left every adult who heard it angry, confused, embarrassed, surprised, curious, or frightened. And it could be that all these feelings were swirling around in the hearts and minds of those who heard this message of radical revolution.

First of all, here she was a simple peasant girl, announcing that God had chosen her for great responsibility, honor, and blessing. Only Elizabeth could hear this song without a knowing smile, attributing all this nonsense to teenage idealism. As a matter of fact, Mary’s declaration would likely have been dismissed as teenage daydreams if it had not all come true!

And what about this prophecy that God would bring down the rich and powerful and lift up the weak and powerless? Where did she get this nonsense? Again we might say it was youthful idealism, out of touch with reality and an absolute absurdity in our world. We could say that- if we didn’t know about Jesus and his proclamation and practice of the same truth.

The final straw was the youthful confidence that God can be trusted to keep promises. Where did a mere child get the wisdom and the faith to bear witness to God’s trustworthiness so boldly? Perhaps from the same God who dwelt within and spoke through the voice and actions of Jesus. Jesus trusted God as loving Abba and taught and lived his faith in a God who was absolutely trustworthy. He not only taught people to receive God’s love but also taught them how to trust, love, and obey this trustworthy God.

God’s promise seems no less preposterous today. Turn the values of this world upside down? Rich become weak, poor become strong? Each of us is chosen to be God’s special witness to God’s promise of love and justice? It does seem like a preposterous promise, until we listen carefully to the Advent story, observe the life of Jesus, and listen to the Spirit’s voice today. But then we see that the promise is for us. The responsibility to tell the story is ours. And yes, the blessing and honor come to all whose lives point to Jesus Christ and God’s revolutionary purpose in the world. ~ From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God Ruben P. Job

Heavenly Father, through this season of Advent may I be reminded that Your promises are never empty and always true. Although they may at times seem preposterous, Your values can be counted on, Your justice and love are true. Let me hear the Spirit’s voice this day as more and more of Your story are revealed. Amen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: