Welcome to Living Lent 2019!
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Hi <<First Name>>,

Today, for our first Living Lent study, we’re looking at a passage which describes Mary’s prayer of thanksgiving to God. It’s an important passage because it provides a great entry point into understanding the context of Jesus’ mission and message.

So let’s get into it.


Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour 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.”  

In this powerful prayer, we find Mary rejoicing at God’s intervention. Reminiscent of the Thanksgiving Psalms, the first part praises God’s mercy and the second part provides evidence of God’s merciful interventions. God acts on behalf of his humble servants. Mary recalls God’s past faithfulness to His people with the expectation that such actions on behalf of the vulnerable and powerless reveal the nature of His character and thus what God will do in the future.

Theologian Karl Barth said, “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” That is exactly what Mary is doing in this prayer, which expresses a powerful call for reorienting unjust systems. Mary, herself a member of an oppressed people under a powerful and ruthless regime, prays for a world in which economic and structural exploitation would come to an end. Mary is not praying for an overturn of the current power systems. She is not imagining that kings become beggars and that beggars become kings, for that would result in the same problems, just inverted. Rather, what’s envisioned is the transformation of power structures in alignment with God’s character, with a particular concern for the lowly and the hungry. Mary’s son Jesus will spend most of his life embodying this prayer and addressing such concerns, even creating a community which reflects God’s concern for the poor and the hungry.

Gracious God, we give you thanks for your continued involvement with humanity, in things both big and small. Thank you for being merciful and for your saving grace. We ask that you would make us aware of places and spaces that need your intervention. We pray that justice may flourish in your world, that those in power would know your mercy and be transformed to create a world that reflects your concerns for the lowly and the hungry. May we use the power and influence we have to participate in the creation of such a world, as Jesus did.

Prayer is fundamental to everything we do. We depend on it. We can’t hope to bring hope and change to economic and structural exploitation without God’s help. Please join us, and thousands of churches across the world, in prayer today. If you’d like to partner with us in prayer, please sign up to the prayer email where you’ll find out specific points from among our causes to direct your prayers towards.
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Next week we’ll look at Luke 4:16-19, where Jesus outlines his mission statement.

See you then,


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