What I’m Thinking: Filling the Poor

In the Magnificat, Mary rejoiced in the coming of a savior – a savior who would fill the poor and send the rich away empty.

Here’s a transcript:

It’s fairly common for me on the third Sunday of Advent to be thinking about the first chapter of Luke (Luke 1:46b-55), Mary’s Song, the Magnificat. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Mary’s Song is not simply one about rejoicing in the prospect of a savior. It is also about a world reversal in which the poor find all the things that they’ve been denied and the rich are sent empty away.

It reminds me, curiously enough, of a movie that I saw this past year called Honeyland, a documentary about a Macedonian traditional beekeeper. Her name was – is – Hatidze (I might be pronouncing that correctly). The documentary follows her encounter with a family that comes to be her neighbors, and they, too, set up to keep bees.

But they don’t follow her advice about the traditional practices. One son attempts to, but the father, pressured by the need to produce large amounts of honey in a fairly short time, discards the advice and the honeybee hives – both theirs and Hatidze’s – end up collapsing.

The family moves away, leaving Hatidze and her mother alone once more in their abandoned village.

I have no romantic notions about subsistence farming. It is the hardest life on this planet. Nevertheless, the film demonstrates that Hatidze is in some kind of special – well, maybe not special – special in the sense of a very close relationship with her surroundings, with, in fact, the bees that she sings to, and loves, and makes sure have the things that they need so that they can provide her with what she needs.

So when I hear Mary’s song this year, I hear it as a reversal for her and for all the Hatidzes of the world: the beekeepers and the potato farmers, the ones who grow taro in small patches or seek in the trees for the ripe fruit. I think about them and how they might be filled with good things while those who are accustomed to everything they desire go empty away.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , , | Posted on December 9, 2019

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