4th Sunday of Advent 23.12.12 Luke 1.39-45 [46-55]

16 12 2012

Mary’s News, Mary’s Message

The square brackets suggest that this passage can be read without troubling with Mary’s song.  That would be a real shame. Here is a liturgical suggestion: why not read the gospel in the normal way up to verse 45 and then have everyone say or sing the song together?

Luke 1.39-45 [46-55]

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

46 And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

‘Head Questions’

  1. How far did Mary walk?
  2. What does the repeated word ‘blessed’ mean?
  3. Where do you see fulfilment here?

‘Heart Questions’

  1. What depths in you are touched by the phrase ‘the child leapt in her womb’?
  2. Which line in Mary’s song evokes the most powerful emotional response from you?
  3. Imagine you had a commission to paint the scene… Either sketch it out or describe it to someone.

‘Hand Questions’

  1. Is there someone you need to visit – for whom a visit from you would be a blessing?  (No time? Pick up the phone.)
  2. Mary’s song begins with praise of God.  How big a feature of your life is praise?
  3. If God is active in the way Mary suggests, what should be the priorities of people who live by faith in God?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.



2 responses

21 12 2012
12/23/2012 Rejoice! | ForeWords

[…] 4th Sunday of Advent 23.12.12 Luke 1.39-45 [46-55] (stephencherry1.wordpress.com […]

16 12 2012
Verse of the Day 12-16-12 | ricklee's poetry plus

[…] 4th Sunday of Advent 23.12.12 Luke 1.39-45 [46-55] (stephencherry1.wordpress.com) […]

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