“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.” Lk 1:52
In the summers before the fall of the Berlin Wall, my wife, Peggy, hosted groups of East German students touring the United States. These trips were made possible by the work of one individual, Herb Brokering, a Lutheran pastor and creative spirit. Herb’s work in East Germany began in 1948 directing youth groups in cleaning up rubble and building roads. It endured through years of communist leadership. Eventually, he received a peacemaking award from the East German government. Herb built bridges between peoples and nations.
I helped Peggy on one of the trips into NYC. We stayed in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church on 100th St and Central Park West. Every evening, when we finished eating, leaders would get up to speak to the group. Their speeches developed into an almost comical format. A leader could barely get four words out of their mouth before the group started singing, “We Shall Overcome.” For this moment to happen, a powerful nation had to come down so these lowly servants could be lifted up. The emotion of it was too powerful for words. It needed a song.
Mary must have been thinking the same thing. Her experience was too powerful for words. It needed a song. And so this lowly servant girl sings a beautiful song about how her soul magnifies the Lord.
Actually, Mary’s song has two parts. The first part is about herself. She sings about her soul magnifying the Lord; how her spirit rejoices and of the favor she has found. The second part is a song of protest in the spirit of, “We Shall Overcome.” The powerful are brought down; the lowly lifted up; the hungry fed and the rich walk away empty.
As Christmas Eve services draw near, I invite you to think about your year. What things have you overcome? Where has your pride been damaged and where has your feeling of lowliness found favor? When did your hungry stomach or soul find nourishment? You may discover the joy of these experiences too powerful for words. Thankfully, Christmas Eve is a powerful night to sing.
Click to read: Luke 1: 46-56
Reflection Questions: What have you overcome this year? Where has your pride been damaged and brought down? When did you find favor when you were feeling lowly? What experience stirs the greatest feeling of thankfulness? Have ever experienced something so great it needed a song? What was the song and experience?
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.com and Jason Rosewell