Wednesday, December 21, 2016


because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant. Other translations suggest that Mary has been "noticed" in this third line of her beautiful song.

This is the turning point of the entire Christian experience; it is the very thing that sets the God of the Scriptures apart from all other gods in all of the world - this God looks favorably upon His servants. He notices them.

Other gods had to be enticed to notice. Their favor had to be bought. But what could a servant ever purchase from her master? Only, in some very rare cases and only perhaps, her freedom, but Mary is not singing of a freedom here. No, she is singing of being more firmly than ever in her Master's house.

And she was doing really nothing at all to be noticed. It was not her prayer that God would give her a child. It was not her prayer that He would change her life. We can't even say that she was hoping that her faithfulness would be noticed. In the contractual existence of the law, such faithfulness is good only for showing faithfulness, not for earning favor. There was nothing in Mary's existence that would suggest that God should notice her, and yet, He does. And He looks favorably upon us.

Our modern theology is a detriment here, for we often suffer from precisely the opposite problem - we have come to believe that God cannot stop noticing us. We have come to expect His favor, if He is any God at all. We have come to base our entire religion on the God of the magnificat without ever realizing that we are, at our cores, simply Marys.

There is nothing about us that God should notice. Nothing. Were it not for His immeasurable grace and unquenchable love for us, we would live quiet lives of faithfulness perhaps for faithfulness's sake. Were it not for the covenant trumping the contract, there would be no reason to expect what we do of our God. And yet, how easy it is for us to forget that the covenant is a two-way agreement. We have entered into it expecting that God would notice us, but we no longer consider what it is that we must do for our end of the relationship.

It is not that we must give Him one hour of our Sunday mornings.

It is that we must become Mary. We must become His humble servants, those living in His house, those working quietly and faithfully for His good. We must understand that there is nothing that we could purchase from Him, except perhaps in some very rare cases and only perhaps, our freedom, but who would wish to be free from this Master's house? No, we must enamor ourselves deeper and deeper into His service. Only then when He looks on us with favor will our heart rejoice.

And this, this is it, isn't it? This is where our dead theology has brought us - we so expect God to notice us that it no longer makes our hearts sing. It no longer fills us with unspeakable joy. It no longer awes us in immeasurable wonder. Of course God should notice us. What else would He do?

Oh, but our hearts are deprived of the joy. The incredible infatuation. The indescribable feeling that it is when the God who created all things looks favorably upon us, notices us. Who are we that we should be noticed?

We are we whose hearts should sing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment