By Rev. Jeremy Smith
Minister of Discipleship, First UMC Portland
First, read Luke 1:46-49
I used to associate being humble with being passive. We are humble if we try to not rock the boat, or not act like we know more than we do, or not show off what we have.
And that’s not wrong: Humility can be a steady, quiet presence against persistent egotistical waves of the world. Its passive form is needed in the fast-paced world today.
But Mary, in this song she sang after learning she would give birth to the Christ Child, sings that God has “looked with favor on the low status of [God’s] servant” (Luke 1:48, CEB).
Later after this verse, she sings of God pulling the powerful down from their thrones and sending them away empty, while lifting up the lowly and filling their hungry bellies. Because of Mary’s joyful participation in what God is doing in the world, she hopes all those things will come to pass.
My hope for us this Advent is that we also have an active humility like Mary: one that is not passive amidst the tumult, but actively pushes against the waves and breaks them or diverts them from the marginalized in our communities.
We do these things not to earn God’s love, but as Mary reminds us, because “the Mighty One has done great things” for us. And may we do so with a humility that both actively transforms the world while also passively putting our hopes for it in God’s hands alone.
1. What’s one ministry in your context that could turn from passive to active engagement?
2. What’s one spiritual practice of yours that could benefit from becoming more active?
3. Humility for Mary is about status. In what ways does a status of yours give you a perspective or gift that others may not have?