Scot McKnight begins this chapter with the following piece of information, “In the 1980s the government of Guatemala banned any public reciting of Mary’s Magnificat because it was deemed politically subversive (p. 15).” The Magnificat is a song about righting injustice and overthrowing power. This is a powerful reminder that the Mary in the creche is incomplete unless we picture Mary as a woman of justice. McKnight compares the Magnificat with members of the African American community signing We Shall Overcome in the 60s and 70s.
How many of us think of Mary as a revolutionary? Maybe some of us. Yet, I would wager a guess that most of the average churchgoers in the United States would not catch this particular emphasis in the birth narratives of Jesus. McKnight even suggests that Mary is much like the disciples in that she has expectations of a earthly Davidic dynasty with Jesus enthroned in Jerusalem (p. 21).
Some folks won’t appreciate this work because it doesn’t go deeply into the composition of the gospel narratives and talk about the editor/authors much, simply attributing everything said to ‘the real Mary’ at face value. Even though I appreciate this sentiment, I think it is interesting and important to read Mary’s voice as Mary’s voice and see where it leads. In this chapter, it leads to justice, peace, and freedom from oppression. How could we disapprove?