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"The Magnificat: THe Particulars of Praise" (Part I)

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Sermon shared by Quintin Morrow

December 2002
Summary: An exposition of the Magnificat, highlighting the primacy and particulars of praise.
Denomination: Episcopal/Anglican
Audience: General adults
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glorify God. And considering how majestic and holy and awesome God is, and what He has done, is doing, and will do for His own, it seems to me that a genuine contemplation of those things ought to result in a smile, a twinkle in the eye, a spring in the step, a voice belting out a new song unto the Lord.

And I am not speaking about worship style here, but the attitude of the heart. Rock bands, fireworks, and videoscreens can mask a shallow, manipulated, transitory semblance of joy. And hymns, reverent hush, and joyous hearts can life-changing. It isn’t the style, but what believers bring to worship internally that matters.

And that brings us to the third characteristic of godly worship: it is interminable. That means, it doesn’t stop when church lets out. When Mary says that her soul magnifies the Lord, she uses a verb in the present tense that expresses continuous action. Literally she says: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and will go on magnifying the Lord.”

Genuine worship doesn’t stop when adverse circumstances arise. You see, we worship an object that never changes—God—and whose promises never fail. Therefore, regardless of what is happening to me, I can and must go on praising the Lord. You recall that in Acts 16 Paul and Silas are arrested in Philippi, beaten half to death and thrown in prison. In verse 25 we read: “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” That’s worship.

I hear younger Episcopalians complain to me all the time: “Our services are boring.” Well, first of all, we come here to offer and not receive. Secondly, if we do not worship God individually during the week, we bring no gift to offer here on Sundays. Do you see that? Even the office of Morning Prayer tells us worship is a continuous endeavor for the believer. The title says “The Order for Daily Morning Prayer.” Worship at home all week. Bring that worship with you here on Sundays, and I assure you that worship here will not be boring.


Next Sunday we will conclude with a look at probably the most important part of the text; namely, the declarations of worship. Briefly, in verses 48-55, Mary reveals the object of worship—God and His marvelous character. She says He is holy, mighty, immutable (that is, never-changing), reliable, and a God who speaks. And finally, she reveals the cause of worship—God’s saving actions. Mary says that He elevates the humble—that God uses seeming nobodies like her, that He does great, public, verifiable things, that He humbles the proud, and always, always, always does what He promises. “God, remembering the promises He made to Abraham 3,000 years ago,” Mary says, “is fulfilling that promise in me now.”


It is my hope that you will have a ‘Mary’ Christmas. The Christmas spirit is the lost coming into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ so that they may join in the worship of this one, true, and living God. The Christmas spirit is God’s
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