Some of us come from traditions where you don’t ask questions of the text. If you ask questions, that means you are questioning God, and that’s not allowed. I want to expose you to the two typical ways this passage has been understood.
I offer here a history of preaching rhetoric with the hope of encouraging women whose calling is the pulpit. We will explore how women have proven their preaching authority and constructed their sermons across time.
Christianity began when an angel showed up at a young, unwed girl’s house, announcing that she’d been honored with the privilege of carrying a baby boy—a boy who would become the hope of the nations. God chose a young, unwed mother to be mother of the One who would usher in an upside down kingdom, a kingdom where God esteems people quite differently than humanity ever has before.
I recently heard a sermon delivered by Dr. Peter T. Vogt, a professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. In it, he shared some insights about the story of Naomi and Ruth. With his permission, I have summarized some of them here.
Luke 1:46–55 is both a beautiful hymn sung to glorify God and an interpretive puzzle. This text, widely known as the Magnificat, is one of several songs Luke uses at a crucial moment in the birth narratives in order for characters to explain the amazing ways in which God is moving. Luke includes it in his narrative to foreshadow the ministry of reversal Jesus will bring, first to Israel and eventually to all people. It is a praise hymn made up of a combination of OT allusions—more specifically, allusions to the Greek translation of the OT commonly referred as the Septuagint and abbreviated LXX. What follows is a study of the LXX allusions that combine to make up this praise hymn—allusions which have the cumulative effect of presenting Mary as a key character in the continuation of God’s OT promises and plan.