hope for churches in stress

Wonder

In an outpouring of joy and praise, Mary, the expectant mother of the long- promised Messiah, communicates her amazement and awe in words that have become one of the great, enduring songs of the church (Luke 1:46-55).

In her song Mary first reflects on the great mercy of God to her personally for this unprecedented honor (verses 46-49). She rejoices: “He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Then Mary widens the lens of her praise to encompass God’s mercy for all humankind, from generation to generation, through the whole of history (verse 50). God could have given up on humankind at the time Adam and Eve first disobeyed. Instead, God immediately shifted to a plan to rescue and redeem the human race (Genesis 3:15; Lamentations 3:22-23).

Mary reflects next on the unexpected ways God exercises his power (verses 51-53). Most often, power is associated with kings and parliaments, armies and armaments, money and media. But Mary understood that God’s power is an entirely different kind (Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29). God works through people with humble, contrite, and trusting hearts (Psalm 53:16-17).

Finally, Mary perceived that her son, Jesus, was the culmination of God’s plan of redemption and salvation (verses 54-55). The plan threads through promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-2), King David (2 Samuel 7:12-16) and all God’s people (Isaiah 9:6-7). With inspired foresight, Mary understood that no matter how many promises God has made, they would all be fulfilled by the child in her womb (2 Corinthians 1:20).

For Mary, and for us, the wonder of Jesus is that he will never give up on humankind—or on any one individual. He accomplishes his purposes in and through people who trust in him with humble hearts. And by his life, death, and resurrection Jesus fulfills every one of God’s promises.

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Barnabas Initiatives is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donors are invited to contribute. Client churches are asked to reimburse expenses, but are not assessed a fee for service. Instead, as they are able, churches are asked to consider a per diem or customized contribution. 

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