He has done mighty things with his powerful arm.
He has scattered those who are proud in their deepest thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones.
But he has lifted up people who are not considered important.
He has filled with good things those who are hungry.
But he has sent away empty those who are rich.
Luke 1:51-53 (New International Reader’s Version)
The above passage of Scripture is part of what is called the Magnificat, or, The Song of Mary. The passage takes up part of Luke 1; verses 46 to 55. However I want to focus on the above verses for tonight’s post.
Mary lived in a very precarious time. Judea was part of the Roman Empire, which in the beginning of the Common Era was expanding. It was under control by Roman-installed Governors and procurators who did Rome’s bidding. For a modern perspective, think of Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, or Allied-occupied Iraq; you get the idea of what world Mary lived in. Mary lived in the midst of Roman oppression: the constant sight of Roman centurions and soldiers and Roman culture infiltrating Judean life were always in her face. As history tells, Rome could be quite brutal in enforcing its way.
Even though it’s been 2000 years, sadly oppression still exists; and you don’t have to go to some dictatorship halfway around the world either. Many people of color here in America live under the oppression of police brutality and White supremacist terrorism. Women live under the oppression of patriarchal men who want to control their bodies. The working poor and middle class live under the oppression of the wealthy that want to drain their very living. Spouses and children live under the oppression of an abuser. Refugees live under the oppression of warring factions destroying their homeland. Today, we ourselves as a society live under the oppression of corrupt government, mass consumerism, and the addiction to technology.
However, Mary sings about God’s remember us through the coming Christ. As we wait for the coming Christ, we are assured that God will bring down the proud and mighty that have been our oppressors. That God will lift up the oppressed and will do great works with His/Her mighty arm. Although the verses don’t use the word, “oppressor” I can see they apply just as appropriately. And as a historical side note, although it took an extra 400 years from Mary’s time, Rome did eventually fall.
We are waiting during this Advent season for the coming Christ, the light of God. This light that will break through the darkness of oppression. We wait with Mary for the coming Christ, so that through him God can do the mighty works as mentioned in the above Scripture…
For all who are waiting in the midst of oppression.