Hope

          Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Holy One,
                  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior....
         For God has shown strength with her arm;
                  she has scattered the proud in their illusions.
         She has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
                  and lifted up the lowly;
         she has filled the hungry with good things,
                 and sent the rich away empty.”
                        —Luke 1.46-47, 51-53

These are dark times.
Mary has no reason to rejoice in the present tense,
as if God has already accomplished this turnover.
The mighty are still in power, reveling in debauchery,
robbing the poor, looting instead of leading,
crushing the wanderer, destroying the temple.
The Emperor has not yet even begun to buckle.
Why does Mary sing God “has” shown strength?
Is her faith just wishful thinking? Abject delusion?
Is hope just crazy fantasy?

Today is the solstice: in this hemisphere
winter is about to set in; the cold is yet to come.
But the earth has already turned.
The season is already doomed.

From the beginning God has established the power
not of death but of resurrection,
given love all the power
and hollowed out the might of the oppressors.
It's too late already for the Emperor and his rage.
The true power in this universe
is not in the fearful hands of the mighty,
but the humble hearts of the loving.

Mary has already said Yes. Her sisters have said Yes.
The earth has turned.
A million peasant girls are out there,
ten million, a hundred million,
bearing the Divine, resisting, persisting, rising
like the dawn on the solstice.
The Emperor cannot stop this.
People of love and truth, people of humble courage,
bear the Holy Spirit into this world,
the Word made flesh, the Body of Christ, eternal,
crucified and risen, and coming again.

The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can't overcome it.
Hope is not deluded. Hope is knowing
what the despairing Emperor cannot even imagine.

         By the tender mercy of our God
                  the dawn from on high will break upon us,
         to give light to those who sit in darkness
                  and in the shadow of death,
                  to guide our feet into the way of peace.

                           —Luke 1.78-79
 

   —December 21, 2017