Mary, filled with the Spirit and prepared. Mary, the obedient handmaid, humbly accepting what is to happen to her, what the Spirit asks of her, to do with her as the Spirit will, speaks now by the Spirit of the coming of God into the world, of the Advent of Jesus Christ. She knows better than anyone what it means to wait for Christ. He is nearer to her than to anyone else. She awaits him as his mother. She knows about the mystery of his coming, of the Spirit who came to her, of the Almighty God who works his wonders. She experiences in her own body that God does wonderful things with the children of men, that his ways are not our ways, that he cannot be predicted by men, or circumscribed by their reasons and ideas, but that his way is beyond all understanding or explanations, both free and of his own will.
Where our reason is offended, where our nature rebels, where our piety creeps anxiously away, there, precisely there, God loves to be. There, he confuses the understanding of the clever. There he offends our nature, our piety. There he will dwell and no one can deny him. And now, only the humble can believe him, and rejoice that God is so free and so wonderful, that he works miracles when the children of men despair. He has made the lowly and humble to be lifted up. That is the wonder of wonders, that God loves the lowly: "God has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sermon on the Magnificat by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
During a brief stint in London (1933 - 1935), Dietrich Bonhoeffer served two German-speaking congregations. As a record of that period of his ministry only sixteen manuscripts survive. Among them is a sermon from the Third Sunday of Advent, 17 December 1933, on the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). An excerpt, edited and translated by Edwin Robertson, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons, Zondervan 2005: