Observation: Today is the festival of Mary, Mother of our Lord. Many Protestants are leary of exalting Mary above the level of any other faithful person, as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions have done. Still, even for us, it's hard to hear Mary open up and sing this extraordinary song of praise--this brilliant piece of theology that connects the God Israel has always known with the amazing thing about to happen in Jesus--and not believe that this was a truly extraordinary young woman.
Application: Mary's opening line, "My soul magnifies the Lord," is a powerful mission statement. If all people of faith focused on was simply finding what God is already doing, and telling people about it--loudly--we would have a tremendous impact on the world around us. But Mary's ability to see God's work in her life was not necessarily innate. As a faithful Jew, she had been trained for her whole life, in the stories of God saving and providing for her people, to have her eyes open for what God would do next and to know it when she saw it.
And from Mary's witness (and the Bible she herself knew, which formed that witness), we know this: God is not in the business of making the strong stronger or the rich richer. God lifts up the lowly. God speaks for those who don't already have the loudest voice at this world's table. God feeds those who otherwise would go without. As for those who have enjoyed privilege, and up to now have never have much of a problem caring for themselves, now is not our moment: if we, too, want to magnify the Lord, we should look for how God is caring for those our society has ignored.
Prayer: God, help me look beyond myself. Let me look for you in those with no power in our world, and magnify your work there. Amen.