Mary’s song and mine

Luke 1-46-47

The Verse of the Day for December 16, 2015 is part of a passage of Scripture described as “Mary’s Song” or the Magnificat, a term derived from the first word of Mary’s reply in the Latin Vulgate, meaning “to magnify.”
Luke 1:46-47, 49:

[The Magnificat] And Mary said, “My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He who is mighty has done great things for me; And holy is His name [to be worshiped in His purity, majesty, and glory].

Her response to the revelation that she will bring forth the Messiah can be seen as an expression of praise and worship. Mary responds by extolling and glorifying the Lord with her whole being. From the depths of her soul she offers praise to God that overflows in true worship from her spirit, as she rejoices in God, the source of life and salvation.

Jeremy Myers points out that the song ties beautifully with poetry and prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures: “This shows a tie between the Messiah they were hoping for and the Messiah who has come. The song of Mary is very similar to Hannah’s prayer for her miracle son (1 Samuel 2), as well as many of the Psalms (e.g., Psalms, 8, 33, 47, 100, 135, 136).”

Earlier in the passage from Luke 1, Mary reflects upon the message of the angel and responds:

Luke 1:38:

Then Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.

She makes reference to herself as a “servant” or “slave” or in some translations “a handmaiden,” terms which are translated from the Greek word doule, the feminine counterpart of doulos—a word expressing the depth of commitment as a bondslave. Mary’s response was the inspiration for this original song:

Be It unto Me

The angel spoke to Mary, the handmaid of the Lord,
That she would bear the Son of God; Jesus would be his name.
She said, “How can these things be, since I know no man?”
Gabriel said, “With God nothing shall be impossible”,
And this is what Mary said,

Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me, according to your word.
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.

Here I stand before you, a bondslave of the Lord.
I only want to serve you, to honor and obey.
I yield my life in service; use me as you choose.
I humble myself before you and like Mary,
This is what I say,

Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me, according to your word.
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Behold, the servant of the Lord.

The love of God constrains you. He calls you to His side.
He wants you for His service. Won’t you answer Him today?
The pressures and the pleasures still pull you away.
All He asks of you is that you trust Him and obey.
And like Mary, won’t you say,

Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me, according to your word.

Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Behold, the servant of the Lord.

Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me, according to your word.
Be it unto me,
Be it unto me,
Behold, the servant, the bondslave, of the Lord.

In further reflecting upon the passage from Luke 1, we note similarities in the lyrics to “O Magnify the Lord” offered by Jonathan Butler.

O magnify the Lord
For He is worthy
To be praised
O magnify the Lord
For He is worthy
To be praised

Hosanna
Blessed be the Rock
Blessed be the Rock
Of my Salvation

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