Confession: I’m not a regular Bible reader. Sure, between church, my religious schooling, and my college English major, I’ve read most of its verses. But outside of the Sunday gospel reading, Scripture takes up no space in my life.
When I agreed to devote myself to these verses, I didn’t know I’d procrastinate long enough to be writing about them amid a pandemic. It feels almost divine to return to the Bible during the most biblical event in my lifetime, which feels eerily similar to the swirling clouds of locusts and the dying of the Egyptian’s firstborns in Exodus.
These lyrics in Mary’s song offer a common biblical theme—God’s elevating the lowly, at the expense of the rich and powerful. This theme resonates in a global pandemic. In some ways it feels true, and in others it really doesn’t. I’ve never lived through an event that has touched people of every race and social class in every country. In this unicorn moment of global bonding we share experiences of scarcity, fear, and grief. Prince Charles and Tom Hanks have been infected alongside grandmothers in Italy and China; the lucky among us are quarantined in our homes, making the daily lives of people across the world more similar than ever before.
Yet this event is so much more devastating for the poor. As I sit inside my home, other New Yorkers risk their health riding subways and braving grocery stores to eke out a modest living for their families. With this reality, it’s hard to believe that God has lifted up the lowly, even if He has brought down some of the powerful from their thrones (v. 52).
The verse holds power for me when I see it as an admonishment to move closer to God by doing what I can to ease the burden of those who need lifting—a call that is more important now than ever.
How can we be part of God’s work to lift up the lowly?
God, may we draw closer to you by participating in your mission. Amen.