The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
This thread of fear, favor and forever continues to be woven throughout my reflections on Psalm 27 and Mary’s life.
Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
In my mind’s eye, I see Mary praying and God responding by lifting her spirit and giving her a respite from her fears. From a heart that seeks the Lord, Mary praises God:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
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,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
I always marvel at Mary’s words of praise and rejoicing. She humbly acknowledges that the Lord has looked favorably upon her. But not just her. Generation after generation, Abraham’s descendants forever receive God’s promised blessing, mercy and provision.
For three months, Mary remained with Elizabeth before returning home. I wonder how she handled her worry over going back to l Nazareth. She must have realized she was not going back to life as it once was. I wonder if Mary’s prayers included pleas like these:
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.
In her time of waiting, Mary gathers the courage to return home to a whole new way of life. In our moments of waiting, may we too gather our courage by replacing our fears with praise, by rejoicing in God’s favor and by forever receiving God’s saving grace.
Wait for the Lord; be strong,
and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!