Magnify: The Song Of Mary
We think our eyes are the part of us that see, but actually they’re the part that see in part.
Just because the image of something is reflected onto our retina, it doesn’t mean we see it. Our soul is the lens our vision passes through and how it skews, how it fogs, how it blurs our vision and blinds our hearts. Our souls see what they are conditioned to see, and everything before us is framed by a way of seeing: lenses of tiredness, hurry, stress, fear. We feel to see and so often fail to see. Fail to see ourselves as we truly are. Fail to see the world as it clearly is. And fail to see God. With us.
This teenage girl, these words she breathes into the air this day,
“My soul magnifies the Lord…”
Luke 1:46 (NKJV)
She wore a lens which helped her see. God.
And her son, when He finally begins His ministry in Israel, in one of His earliest and most defining moments will teach this truth, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ (Matthew 5:8)
Blessed are you when your heart is clear as glass, when your soul is not obscuring the sight of your eyes, so you can truly see the face of God, right there. With you. Seeing God.
This first line of Mary’s song, helped her write the rest. And helped her see everything else differently. Herself, the world, and God at work in it.
Her words of deep heart-freeing joy in God, shatter the scars and freed her eyes to see. Because true sight always begins with singing. With worship. With laughter and a dance.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
Magnification is making large the small. Making the invisible visible, the obscured obvious. Because our scarred souls are so adept at blindness. Our stone hearts so easily numb to joy. To Him.
Eyes that magnify, that look to see the small details of God’s presence in a life, see more. More of God.
Mary understood. Her soul had to be helped to see and her seeing started with singing.
A pure heart is the place where seeing happens. The place of true sight. The place of Hope. A pure heart is not about good behaviour or perfect religious practice. It’s about wiping clean the soul of everything else- the mud of all our fear, anxiety and bitterness, by bringing it to God and leaving it there at His feet. So we, unburdened are then free to see, to dance, to breathe and to live. With Him. Seeing Him. With us. Seeing Hope. With us.
‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people’
A camera lens captures an image in light so small that the human eye can easily overlook it, the human foot easily trample it down. But when that image is captured and held by light through the camera lens, light forming the image into thousands of multicolour pixels, in the form of a photograph. Then when that image is transferred onto a computer screen, photo paper or a canvas and made larger in the process- magnified- then we begin to see, in truth, all that it is, all the detail and beauty that were there all along, previously unseen. We begin to see things that were always present, but invisible to our clumsy human sight.
What does it mean for the lens of our souls to magnify the presence of God instead instead of our fears? To enlarge the image of God with us, instead of our own whirling thoughts? To capture His glory, instead of being held captive by our anxieties and assumptions?
What if our souls, instead of blinkers, were magnifying lenses, so we could sing like Mary,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’
Luke 1:46-47 NKJV
Or as the NIV translation reads…
‘‘My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,”
Luke 1:46-47 NIV
To so focus on God that we see the finest smallest details in His story, His word, so we can catch our breath, like Mary, and breathe in the wonder of who He is. The wonders of His love.
‘He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love’
–Joy to the world, Carol
Breath taking, breath giving wonder.
And we will always find, when we see the world through the clear lens of God’s presence in it, and God’s presence with us, that we see the world and ourselves differently.
In the singing of Her song, beginning with seeing God, Mary begins to see herself and the world around her more clearly. She begins her song with seeing God…
‘And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,’ Luke 1:47
And then she sees herself through His eyes and His presence with her…
‘for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.’ Luke 1:48-49
And then she sees the world through His presence in it, the presence of this true King establishing His Kingdom of Justice and righteousness on earth…
‘His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.’
And then she sees the story of her people through His presence in it…
‘He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants for ever,
just as he promised our ancestors.’
Mary caught a glimpse of God’s heart and her seeing became a singing. The song of God’s intention for justice and righteousness on earth. A song of the upside-down right-way-up nature of the Kingdom of this baby born King.
A song to topple empires.
A song to pierce the dark.
This song this teenage girl sings, this song inspired purely by seeing God’s heart and then seeing everything else through His eyes, this song Mary sings will so threaten the power structures of this world that throughout history it will be repeatedly banned from being sung in public.
“During the British rule in India, the singing of the Magnificat in church was prohibited because of its incendiary lyrics. So, on the final day of British rule in India, Gandhi, who was not a Christian, requested that this song be read in all places where the British flag was being lowered.
During the 1980s, the government of Guatemala found the ideas raised by Mary’s proclamation of God’s special concern for the poor to be so dangerous and revolutionary that the government banned any public recitation of Mary’s words.
The junta in Argentina banned Mary’s song after the Mothers of the Disappeared displayed its words on placards in the capital plaza.
The government of El Salvador banned this song in the 1980’s. And so on and so on – all over the world, oppressive defenders of Empire have found these words too explosive for everyday use.” Craig Greenfield*
We make the mistake of thinking that power is essential to subdue power. That political might and money is what is needed to turn this aching world around. We have never understood. Our vision has always been clouded, blurred and dimmed by the dark.
This world doesn’t need another promise from a politician. This world doesn’t need another military operation to ‘save’. There is not enough money in the world to heal the dark.
What this world truly needs, and what we truly need is this song. This song born within us when we look into God’s face. The song we discover at the centre of God’s heart. The song rising up from deep within when we see the world and ourselves through His eyes, finding the hope that has been there for us all along. Because true sight always begins with singing. With worship. With laughter and a dance.
If you want to transform the world for the better. Magnify and see His face. Then sing His song and allow it to shatter the scars and freed your eyes to see. Sing it loud and clear,
This song to topple empires.
This song to pierce the dark.
* Craig Greenfield ‘The War on Christmas is not what you Think’ www.craiggreenfield.com/blog/waronchristmas