Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!
What pops out at you in this psalm? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?
The psalms are both a prayer book and a hymnal. Does it seem like this particular psalm is more like a prayer or more like a song? What’s the difference between a prayer and a song? Do you ever pray through music? What is that like for you?
This particular psalm is echoed (or is an echo of!) both Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2) and Mary’s song (Luke 1). Why do you think these themes are so prevalent in our faith story? And why does it so often appear as a song? (Remember that women were property, not individuals…and remember that both Hannah and Mary were in pretty precarious positions when they sang this song…) Why is THIS the song of people in those precarious positions? Is this the kind of song you sing at difficult times?
Is this how you experience the work of God? If not, how would you describe what God does and who God is?
If this is truly what God is like, then what does that mean for how we (the people of God, the Body of Christ) are to be?
The word “Magnificat” means “magnified”–it comes from Mary’s song in Luke 1 where she says “My soul magnifies the Lord”, meaning that she is glorifying God even in the midst of her distress. Do you ever have that kind of experience, a time when “magnificat” is appropriate to your spiritual life?
What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?