As we near the Christmas Season, we read he words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she reflected on the blessing that had been given her to be the mother of the Messiah. We seem to always concentrate on the opening words: “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.” But we somehow have missed what she then said about the coming Savior: “He has show 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…
In case we missed what Mary said, Luke also reports Jesus reading from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth at the beginning of his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”; and he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-21)
Jesus life and ministry was a mission dedicated to carrying out the above. How have we as Christians through the centuries failed to see what Jesus was about? How have we missed the major thrust of his ministry? Why have we utterly failed to continue this mission?
As I approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus, I look out on my own state (Kansas) which is supposed to governed by professed Christians. I see poverty that is growing worse each year. I see adults working two and three jobs to provide for their children and not being able to do so because of low wages and part time employment with no benefits. I see a state legislature and governor who have refused to extend Medicaid to thousands who have no health insurance who are suffering needlessly because of that. I see a governor and legislator who have refused to raise the minimum wage so that working people can live on what they earn. I see children and adults who are homeless. I see thousands of children going to bed hungry each night, if they have a bed. AND I ASK—-WHERE ARE THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS? Why have they not stood up to the powers that cause all of this suffering? Where is the voice of “the crucified one” demanding that those who have the power to change this picture do so? Where are we?
We are sitting in comfortable churches. We have joined the “powers that be” rather than bringing them down to deal with the desperate condition of many in our state. Not a single voice has been heard from the church and Christians demanding that Medicaid be extended. Not a single church has demanded that the minimum wage be raised. The church and Christians have remained silent in the face of the poverty and suffering all around them.
The Magnificat speaks of the change that the society will experience because of the birth of the Messiah. Centuries later, we who claim to be the “body of Christ” have not brought that change about. Rather we have joined the forces of the powerful that are causing those conditions of poverty and helplessness to continue and to grow.
WE’VE MISSED JESUS’ ENTIRE POINT, FELLOW CHRISTIANS!!!