"The Magnificat Is All About Women" (12-8-13)

In a modern-day statue in England’s Ely Cathedral, the virgin Mary is blonde and muscular. She’s wearing bright blue (historically the rarest of colors) and is lifting her arms skyward. “The Magnificat is all about women,” Kathie Hepler told Adult Ed on Dec. 8.

For Hepler, there are echoes of Mary’s Song in the joyous shouts of her cousin Elizabeth and, in the Hebrew Bible, old Sarah and barren Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Each woman was an unlikely mother-to-be, and each greeted the angel’s astounding news with words similar to these from Mary in Luke 1:46-55:

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

“Mary’s song didn’t stop with her,” Hepler said. “After all, a pregnant woman is looking to the future.

Long-time member of Dumbarton, Kathie Hepler is Director of the Writing Center at Wesley Theological Seminary.

By Ginny Finch