v 52 He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.
This is the well-used song, called the Magnificat in the Prayer Book, voiced by Mary when she knew that her pregnancy was planned and enabled by God Himself. The angel’s message was ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.’ (v 35). Who could have imagined that she, a young and lowly woman from Nazareth in Galilee, would become the mother of the Divine Saviour and Prince of Israel? Surely that would be the role of a mother in some princely palace, well-placed in society, with all the trappings of royalty and wealth surrounding her! But no, God’s plan was to by-pass the earthly princesses and use a humble servant girl to fulfil His purposes.
So it has always been! Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 1 ‘Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. ‘
It is not human power and position that God values, but rather the simple virtue of humility.
Our 21st century celebrity culture has vastly different values! It is not easy to stand back from such values and embrace a God-fearing humility.