Sunday, December 19, 2010

Radical birth

St. Luke's gospel presents a socially revolutionary Jesus.  In Luke's view, Jesus comes to usher in the "Year of Jubileee" at last!  Most Christians today simply aren't ready for the implications of this view of the one whom they claim to follow in life. 

Still, Luke comes at readers with a "turn the tables" expectation of the Messiah whom he describes. 

Recently, I ran across a interesting, contemporary rendition of the "Magnificant," the song of Mary that Luke places at the beginning of his story, a song that Jesus' mother sings as she considers the meaning and the work of the son she is about to deliver into the world. 

Here's how Brian D. McLaren interprets the famous hymn:

All the parts of my innermost being - intellect, imagination, emotions, intuition, desire, volition - unite to celebrate aloud the magnificence of the Lord. My innermost being jubilates in the God who liberates me. God has smiled upon me, God's down-to-earth servant, so I know all will be well. Countless descendants from future generations will look back, Knowing I was blessed, For Divine Power has worked powerfully on my behalf. May God's mysterious Name be ever revered.

God's kindness falls like rain and shines like the sun
On those in every generation who hold God in reverence.

See what transpires when God's arm flexes in human society:
Arrogant egotists in the centers of power tumble,
And find themselves out off office and on the margins of nowhere.

High-finance high-rollers go bankrupt; party leaders get fired; pundits make fools of themselves,
And the power-hungry look pathetic and weak.

Meanwhile, welfare moms and minimum-wage workers finally get ahead,
And the third-world finally goes first class.

God welcomes the hungry and malnourished to a first-class feast, and
God sends the rich out with growling stomachs and empty plates.

God's oppressed people, God's servants, finally experience God's uplifting presence.

God hasn't forgotten us after all,

But God has re-activated the age-old promise to be gracious,
In unending fidelity to our ancestor Abraham and all his descendants.

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