Tell Out, My Soul -by Timothy Dudley-Smith
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of God’s might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor 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 forever.”
Mary’s response to Elizabeth now known as the “Magnificat” or Mary’s song of praise and thanksgiving is a thread woven into the fabric of faith. God, in God’s way has shown us grace and compassion in the incarnation through a girl named Mary.
This song reminds us of what God has done and is doing. Who is this Mary? We may often think of Mary, a simple girl… however, her role in the life of Jesus is so much more.
We realize that Mary is a blessing to all generations, from the past to the present and into the future. The word used in the Hebrew is Brukha which is a blessing… but what if we look at “blessing” in the Hebrew form of Ishar an active verb “to go straight, a call to do something to make a change in the world.”* Mary accepted the gift of Brukha blessing to be a blessing for all generations, and she Ishar did something in the process. She agreed to be active in the life of Jesus. She raised him, nurtured him, cared for him, cried over him, laughed with him, taught him, and most of all, she loved him.
Women and men in every place in the world are tasked to do something to make a change in the world. The “Marys,” the ordinary women (and men), in Bethlehem today, even while living in the midst of occupation continue to work for change and justice in our world by loving, nurturing, caring, and teaching their children to live lives with faith, compassion and love.
Prayer: Lord of love, we give you thanks for Mary and the action of her love. Help all of us live our lives in action as we seek to serve and work for justice in the world. Bless the work of men and women who seek to serve at home and around the world. Amen.
*Notes from a talk by Archbishop Elias Chacour on going deeper with the Beatitudes from Matthew 5.
Devotion written by Rev. Kristen L. Brown, Methodist Liaison in Palestine and Israel, serving through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church
Picture credit: Rev. Kristen L. Brown, picture of the Wall of Separation in Bethlehem, graffiti on the wall of 3 Marys designed by Rev. Steve Braudt.
Advent Wreath: Candle holders are olive wood Bethlehem Star, the Candles are placed in tear gas canisters, the olive wall panels represent the wall around Bethlehem and many other areas in the West Bank area of Palestine (available through the YWCA of Jerusalem), the green carpet is made by women from the Negev, and the scarfs represent men and women. Photo taken by Kristen L. Brown