Magnificat 1

What a joy to have someone finally believe you, be thrilled at the news of your pregnancy, while the rest in your world can only admonish, “Mary, what have you done?!” Yes, joy instead of shame.

What a joy to feel a too-long-hoped-for-baby, a mysterious baptizer John baby, swim an in utero somersault in the presence of greater approaching mystery. Joy comes in multiplying leaps, Elizabeth.

What a joy, what a joy, not just for two pregnant women sharing stories, but joy for the masses of people wrapping the earth, whether living and breathing, or dust and bones, or yet to be. Joy. Like the tipping domino in a long branching chain, God sets mercy in motion by enfleshing holy Grace in a baby’s face. The toppling begins. Mary and Elizabeth dance for joy. The falling of all that is wrong rushes past and through twenty centuries, through our little congregation: people healed, love shared, sins forgiven, hope renewed, lives changed.

I notice only a small part of this tumbling as it sweeps past our lives. I still fear the evil towers left standing, but God is not finished. Oh, if I could only be lifted up in Mercy’s arms, out of despairing shadows cast by that which is yet to fall, and somehow see the whole splendid design of falling dominoes weaving through wars and famines and cruelty and selfishness. If I and my congregation of worshipers could only view the whole, we would leave our pews and dance in the aisles like wide-eyed, delighted children…or like giggling, pregnant women with an exploding secret.

Topple, tumble, fall!
Magnificat, magnificent, magnify!
Joy, joy, joy!


  1. One of my favorite Italian Renaissance paintings of the Visitation has baby JBap in Elizabeth’s womb greeting his Savior by dancing a happy jig and playing a fiddle.

    Sometime I’d be interested in hearing how your blogging informs your preaching (and vice versa).

  2. In utero fiddle playing? Now that is one wonderful imagination. As for the sermon (which may not be preached tomorrow, pending weather), we are looking at 3 settings of the Magnificat in the hymnal. The notes for what I was going to say as introduction to each hymn have been reshaped in the blog. But now the discipline of writing the blog is likely in turn to reshape how I will introduce each hymn. Thanks to the luxury of a quiet afternoon, the sermon and blog have had a dialogue. However, not everything one writes on a blog speaks well in a group setting. One thing that blogging helps me with is speaking/writing more concisely.