S (Scripture): Luke 1 [Mary proclaims]:
“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.”
O (Observation): Mary proclaims what God has already accomplished, but in a way that points to the fact that God will continue to act in this way – to bring down the haughty, and to lift the lowly.
Mary says these things, even as she is living into her own understanding of what God has done / is doing / will do. She speaks like God has already won a great victory, and continues to win – even despite our failings to create a distance between strong and weak, rich and poor.
A (Application): God has a tendency to reverse what we have done. We lift up class, race, socio-economic status as indicators of the victors and losers.
White. Male. Heterosexual. Many consider this the norm. Someone in these categories doesn’t think of race, gender or sexual orientation as categories. Rather, these are considered the norm. When NOT in these categories, we consider anything else a deviation from the norm.
That offends people in “my category,” for that is a part of who I am: white, male, heterosexual. This country was founded mostly by folks in this category. Also, those who founded this country came from areas where domination and submission of the “other” was considered a show of strength and success. No wonder we continued down this road as a nation, beginning with the domination and submission of American Indians, as well as building much of this country on the backs of black and brown enslaved people.
What does God consider good or right? I’m not sure. But we do know how God acts: brings down the haughty, raises up the lowly.
These are the words of hope for me today. I am the haughty, the proud, the powerful. I am becoming one who is being lowered, that I might know better how to walk alongside my siblings of color. My status is becoming less a concern, so that I can walk hand in hand with others this society still considers less.
God afflicts the comfortable, and comforts the afflicted. Thank you, God, for this.
P (Prayer): Gracious God, remind me and all who struggle with power and control: we are all made precious in your sight. Amen.