Monday, December 20, 2010

Big Deal

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” (Luke 1:46 ESV)

According to my children I tend to make a big deal over things that really aren’t a big deal.
I disagree.

What time they go to bed and how much sleep they get on a school night is a big deal. How much screen time they get – video games, G-chat, TV – that is a big deal. Whether or not they put off a homework assignment until the last minute is big deal. Words they use, clothes they wear, all of that is a big deal.

At the same time I know they are not entirely wrong. I’ve been guilty of making too much over small things. Usually this happens when something isn’t right with me: I’m tired or preoccupied. They may be laughing and raucous as kids sometimes are and I’ll put an end to it because it bothers me. They might drop something or spill something and I’ll launch into some parental lecture. Maybe they just need my attention and I take what should be theirs and give it to something else that seems more urgent, more pressing. I make a big deal of the wrong things.

Cars are fitted with side-view mirrors that make things look distant and smaller. God designed the human soul to do the exact opposite. The soul was made to resonate with things in such a way that those things are made to look large and significant. This resonance of the soul has a way of giving weight and honor to what we truly cherish.

The biblical word for this capacity of the soul is “glorify” or “magnify.” To borrow language from my kids, the inclinations and resonances of the soul are how we make a big deal over something. Whether we know it or not, and often we do not, our souls are continually magnifying something. The question is “what?”

Sometime after the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was pregnant with the one who would “reign over the house of Jacob forever,” Mary gathered up all that she was thinking and feeling in a prayer. This prayer comes to us through Luke’s pen in the form of a poem or song known to us as “The Magnificat.”

The opening line of Mary’s song / prayer will occupy our attention for the remainder of the week. “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’.” (Luke 1:46).

What does this mean? More importantly, how do we do it? If our souls are designed in such a way to magnify something, what do we magnify or make a big deal over in the course of a typical week? And if we want to say with Mary that our souls magnify the Lord, what will that look like?

The question is worth pondering because in scripture glorifying or magnifying God is given to us as a command. Consider Psalm 34:3. “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Magnifying the Lord isn’t a feeling or a passive experience; glorify and magnify are verbs that we are commanded to do.

For today, begin with the big deal that dominates the landscape of your mind and heart right now. What occupies your thoughts? What stirs your excitement? What’s the big deal? Maybe as we magnify the Lord what seems so big won’t stay that way.

Grant us grace, O God, to magnify your name: to see you as great and mighty, and to see the rest our life in the light of your glory and strength. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

No comments: