By Sheli Sloterbeek
Daily Lectionary reading: Luke 1:46b-55; Isaiah 33:17-22; Revelation 22:6-7, 18-20
Selected passage for reflection: Luke 1:46b-55
Luke 1:46-55 NLT
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
46 Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Pondering Mary - God Within Us
Due to my conservative Evangelical upbringing, Mary was talked about occasionally, but not a lot. (God forbid we worship her like the Catholics did.) But, over the years, I’ve allowed myself to wonder and question more - Jesus is okay with questions, God’s not threatened by my curiosity.
This year as I read Mary’s song or magnificat, I was taken by her presence, her faith, her openness to God. At such a young age she was noticing God. She knew from the old scripture that God spoke to people, prompted individuals to tasks whether they felt ready for them or not. She knew the voice of God and was present to it.
She sought a Spirit-filled friend. Her cousin Elizabeth, who acknowledges the baby within Mary as Lord. Without judgment. No condemnation. But full acceptance and love with her. And Mary offers a song in this private space of two friends. They acknowledge this is the God who will bring down rulers and bring peace. And in this safe space she can say that future generations will call her blessed.
Oh yes, how blessed you are Mary! To have the blossoming Divine trinity within you.
As I contemplated further I came to a place, a crossroad, where I could rely on my brain and knowledge of theology and doctrine and try to comprehend how a virgin gives birth to a part of the Divine Trinity or hold my hands and heart open to the Mystery. For there really is no way to know the ways of God.
Consider pausing here in wonder of the Divine Mystery.
In my wondering the Holy Spirit revealed to me a connection. I too, hold the Divine within me. The Spirit - part of the Trinity moves with me, in and through my days. Jesus is Emmanuel which means God with us. God within us as an inextricable and mysterious working of the Trinity.
I hold the fullness of God within. You do as well. Emmanuel, God is with you. Emmanuel, God is within you.
The fullness of the Divine Trinity longs to be acknowledged with and within you.
What does this truth open up within you?
Emmanuel as an infant
Emmanuel as you’re dying
Emmanuel in your suffering
Emmanuel in your rejoicing
Emmanuel in the prison
Emmanuel in your workplace
Emmanuel in your sickness
Emmanuel in your hunger
Emmanuel in grief
Emmanuel in love
Emmanuel in broken relationships
Emmanuel in uncertainty
Emmanuel in your loneliness
Emmanuel when you’re overwhelmed
Emmanuel in deep sadness
Emmanuel in turmoil
Emmanuel in your learning
Emmanuel in your unraveling
Emmanuel in your trusting
Emmanuel in your doubts.
God is with you.
God is within you.
About the Author
Sheli Sloterbeek is a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, spiritual director, yoga instructor, retreat leader and most especially, beloved child of God. She is honored to be a companion of others as they discover God in their everyday life through the ministry of spiritual direction, either one-on-one, in a group, or holding space through workshops and retreats. Sheli’s passion is for the “whole” person – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – to be alive and live fully with God. www.aslowjourney.com IG:@aslowjourney