Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Bible and Economics...

Lorelei Elizabeth
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Part of an on-going series looking at what the Bible has to say about wealth and poverty and how we manage our economic affairs. You can find the entire series over on the left in my links under "The Bible and Economics," or right here.

Today, I'll look at a timely passage, from Luke 1. This contains the song Mary sang after finding out she was to give birth to Jesus.

I'll point out that in this story, God has chosen a poor, humble teen-ager as the vessel in which to bring God's "Good news to the poor," as Jesus himself later declares. I'll also point out that Jesus, the almighty son of an all-powerful God, was born in a stinky barn in the humblest of conditions. I'll also point out that, in Luke 2, Mary and Joseph made a "dove offering," which indicated they were likely poor. According to Wesley's Notes...

"2:24 A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons - This offering sufficed for the poor. Lev 12:8."

Upon learning about this Jesus who was soon to be born into dire, scandalous circumstances, Mary sang...

"My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For God has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is God's name.


God has done mighty deeds with God's arm;
God has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
God has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.

And sent away the rich empty-handed.
God has given help to Israel God's servant,
In remembrance of God's mercy,
As God spoke to our ancestors,
To Abraham and his descendants forever."

Understanding the circumstances in which young Mary found herself - a poor, pregnant out-of-wedlock, teen-aged young Jewish woman, part of an oppressed people in an occupied nation who were not unfamiliar with impositions, hardships, poverty and hunger - perhaps we should not be surprised that she would sing of a Day when ruthless rulers and oppressors would be brought down and the unjust rich sent away empty-handed, the humble exalted and the poor would be "filled with good things."

It is a point well worth remembering this Christmas season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing as always