A Magnificat for Our Times

At this time of year, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus. How, in circumstances that would shame one less trusting, in what must have felt as much like some kind of daily dreaminess as faith, she in her living love of God sang praises to the Holy for the gift of this child she bore in uncertainty and out of wedlock. She sang praises in the midst of conditions more likely to bring ruin than reward. I never cease to be astounded by this demonstration of radical belief. It calls me to reflect. Deeply.

Especially, given these times, so uncertain and troubling to all of us, but particularly to my community—Trans and LGBQ folks, as we live already and daily on the edges of too many margins.

Still, I long for Mary’s kind of nearness to the Holy. In faith, in relationship, and in likeness. And, of course, I fail more often than not. Still, I strive. Mostly, by stillness more than effort. This year, in my stillness, I gave myself a journaling assignment: I will write my own Magnificat; I will write one a week until that kind of praise becomes more and more part of me and my daily practice. This is the fruit of the first week

“My soul magnifies our Creator and my spirit rejoices
in our God, the one who saves us, endlessly, and daily—
from ourselves, from aimlessness, our own mythic self-sufficiency,
delivering us full-faced and open-handed into the holy land
of human community, where we just might be redeemed—
for God has looked with favor on all of us, siblings in the good creation:
even as some are favored in the world of needfulness,
while others are left wanting; even as the few
profit on the bodies, labor, and gifts of the many;
even as we hear the cry of those who suffer and give thanks
it is not we who are hungry, who are in danger, who long,
seeking place and safety and some measure of more.
Surely, from now on all generations will call us blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for all of us,
holy are God’s many names—spoken, dreamed of, crying inside-out, heard
before the letters form on our fragile lips:

Surely God’s mercy is for those who fear
from generation to generation; with the strongest voice,
Sacred Speaking calls on us to scatter the proud in their thoughtlessness;
to drag down the lofty self-preservers from their thrones,
to lift up the holy low and forgotten; the One Most High has filled us
with everything we need to answer the Holy Word calling us to fill the hungry
with good things, and make the rich in plenty see there really is more
than enough for all to be apportioned some measure of what sustains.
My soul magnifies remembrance of Our Renewer’s help and mercy:
God’s help to servants of love and justice, everywhere, offering
remembrance of all the many ways Loving Presence comes to us—
daily, everywhere within and around us, giving us
what we need and then some, to keep waking us up, moving us
through our days, prodding us, perhaps, to the see the empty spaces
longing to be filled…in self and other; and for that,
to give thanks, within, even before the letters form
on our fragile lips.”

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About liammichael

I am a gender theorist, writer, trans activist, advocate, theological rabble-rouser, and educator. I also work directly with trans and LGBTQ persons through support groups, workshops, mentoring and community-building. My work is informed and shaped by a deep concern for addressing the layers of intersectionality facing us in creating a just peace in a truly just world. I am a writer. And, I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. I do not, however, serve a church: my church has no walls, no roof. I work with, consult, and engage with public, secular, and faith groups seeking to be affirming, accommodating, and celebratory of LGBQ and trans persons. This space is a small part of the work.
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