The Magnificat and the War in Ukraine
Today, as a part of my ‘bible in a year’ reading plan, I read Luke 1:53 NLT ‘He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.’ These words form a part of Mary’s song of praise, often referred to as ‘The Magnificat’. It is a prophetic song that speaks to the work that Jesus would do here on earth and the new kingdom He would usher in and inaugurate through the local church. (Mathew 16:18).
This particular verse struck me today as I read it against the backdrop of a global conflict being orchestrated by an evil autocrat sitting on a self-made throne. Whilst Ukraine literally burns to the ground under the tyrannical siege of the Russian military, we look on as if we are spectators at a sporting event or viewers of an apocalyptic Netflix series. I don’t know how that makes you feel, but I certainly feel powerless, which leads to feelings of frustration, anger, even fear. What do we do? Well, we donate our finances, we pray, we tweet, post and, well that is really it! We throw our hands in the air!! What can we do, really?
As I read, ‘He HAS brought down princes from their thrones, I am reminded that we so often forget the nature of this new kingdom that Jesus came to establish in our world through His divine teaching, divine example, ultimate death, but most importantly resurrection from death. This new kingdom is one that is being established in our world today. Mary declared prophetically in The Magnificat, Jesus announced it as he drew his last breath, it IS finished (John 19:30), He HAS brought down evil rulers! (Luke 1:53) Today I was encouraged and challenged to remember that Jesus has finished His work and no earthly ruler, dictator, autocrat, no ideology, no worldview or perverted national identity can undo what has ALREADY been done!
Jesus was and still is, in the business of transforming our world in a new way (Isaiah 43:19). He was never going to work through the established hierarchies of politics and power. Jesus’ new world order of power would subvert the most powerful systems by turning them upside and changing them from the inside out. Jesus steps inside the hearts of those who are, as Mary says, humble. From within the heart of the individual, Jesus empowers us to live like Him, teach like Him and turn our worlds upside down, just as He did. When Jesus transforms the human heart we begin to see the kingdom break into our world in the most powerful of ways! We see families healthy, whole and strong. Strong families build strong communities and strong communities build a strong nation; nations built upon the values of heaven.
So despite the powerlessness, the anger, and the fear we may feel today, we can be confident that Jesus HAS ALREADY won this war. Set against the backdrop of tragedy, loss and injustice, we can be assured that humble hearts will always rise. Jesus exalts humble hearts! They will rise above the power of evil, always have done and always will do, whilst ever there are those who, even in the midst of inexplicable horror, chose to surrender to Jesus.
So what will I do? Well, I will give, I will pray, but most importantly I will double down on living a life like Jesus. Teaching my children to live like Jesus, follow Jesus and introduce as many people as I can to my Jesus, who will change their lives and, in turn, bring heaven to earth.