Week 4 – December 22 – Peace, Love and Hope
Reflector: Ruth Irvin
The text for this final week of Advent presents many questions, and who knows how many answers! The Scripture reference for this week is Luke 1:52-54: “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy.” This scripture comes at the close of what has become known as The Magnificat, or Mary’s Song. As a hymn or poem voiced by Mary, the Mother of Jesus, it is found directly after the joyful meeting between Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, and her older cousin, Elisabeth, who is pregnant with John (the Baptist). Elisabeth praises Mary for her faith, and Mary responds with this song in which she glorifies God and expresses her thankfulness for God’s goodness and love. But as the text draws to a close, this song becomes a poem with social, economic and even political dimensions. In its series of reversals in which the proud are to be humbled and the humble are to be lifted up, Mary, as a humble, poor young woman, speaks to us of hope, of a time where systems of injustice will be brought down, where oppressor’s chains will be broken, and where the helpless and hungry will be rescued.
My father would often say in times of distress, “there is always hope.” I can hear him even now voicing these words. I see these verses of The Magnificat speaking to us in ever-hopeful ways in these uncertain and troubled times. There is always hope! This is not the first time in history in which the times are chaotic, where people seem unable to listen to one another, where the world is ready to boil over in hatred. Yet, hope allows us to envision a much different world if we but work for that end and model the love Jesus modeled for us. However, hope does require action if it is to bring about change. Will we work for the peace that we believe can eventually envelop us? Will we work for justice for all humankind, no matter our color, our sexual orientation, our political beliefs, our place in society? Will we work for peace in the world as well as for the peace that passes all understanding? These are the challenges of our time. There is always hope. What about action? Are we ready?
Prayer: God of all things hopeful, in this world that seems to have turned upside down, help me to be a faithful worker who seeks justice and peace. Guide me in putting my hope into action. Let your love shine through me onto others as each of us seeks to be guided in the ways in which we can best serve you. Amen.