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." - Luke 1:46b-55
When reading this full text, those of us who take the Bible seriously but not necessarily literally may wonder what Mary really said when the angel told her that she was about to become an unwed teenage mother. This could not possibly have been good news for Mary, a poor peasant girl among an illiterate people who never heard of a thing called "virgin birth."
"I'm what? Pregnant?"
"And you want me to tell people what?"
"You know that in the eyes of all my neighbors, he will always be regarded as a . . . you know what they will call my baby."
And yet the truth of this text is profoundly present in Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, whose birth will so change the world that the years on earth will be measured as being before and after Jesus' birth. And Mary's prophecy in this text is still coming true. People of the light still believe and work for it to this day.
And we remember Mary, with millions still saying, "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."
And we will still work for justice as God's partners, until the poorest and most vulnerable on the earth realize God's mercy as present "for those who fear God from generation to generation." God's strength has and will continue to bring down powerful despots on thrones; God will continue lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry on the earth, filling them with good things.
No matter what actually happened, I know this text is true.
Thanks be to God for Mary. Amen.
Ron Buford is the former coordinator of the UCC's God is still speaking campaign and appears in the DVD-based progressive theology series, Living the Questions 2.0.