Scripture Reading: Luke 1:46-55
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.’ –Luke 1:51-55
Church historian John Dominic Crossan* notes that the town of Sepphoris located a short distance from Nazareth was a major Roman controlled city. It was perhaps Mary’s birthplace. The residents of the area saw first-hand the peace of Roman in all its victory through violence. The experience left a lasting impression. At the time of the death of Herod, the Great, there was apparently a Jewish uprising in this city toward the end of regaining Jewish control. It was quickly ended by the war machines of Roman. In some accounts, mass destruction, rape, and pillage was reported.
Mary, like those fleeing the war in the Middle East today, was shaped by the events of her day. Her song reflects the frustration of one living under an oppressive regime. It reflects a faith that God was ultimately in control and would send a Savior at the right time and in the right way and she was willing to play her part in making that a reality.
Many probably wanted another mighty warrior like King David. They got a wise son of a peasant girl who understood that victory through violence is not victory at all. Violence just begets more violence. Can we ever have a world without war? Yes, we can, but we can only do that when we quit letting the violent set our agenda. We, like Mary and like her son Jesus, have the assurance of the God of Abraham that peace through love is possible.
Prayer: Lord move among all the children of Abraham rekindling the hope for a world ruled by love not war. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.