"Rejoice, then, you sad-hearted,
who sit in deepest gloom,
who mourn your joys departed
and tremble at your doom.
All hail the Lord's appearing!
O glorious Sun, now come,
send forth your beams so cheering
and guide us safely home."—O Lord How Shall I Meet You, ELW 241
The fourth verse of our hymn talks about rejoicing: "Rejoice then, you sad-hearted, who sit in deepest gloom, who mourn your joys departed and tremble at your gloom." Truth be told, we often know more about being sad-hearted than actual rejoicing. The world promises happiness, but it often doesn't deliver. With joys departed, we wait for God to come and make things right.
Luke tells us that the baby inside Elizabeth leaps for joy at the sound of Mary's greeting. Soon Mary is singing her heart out because of God's gracious actions to redeem the world. Mary's song expresses great confidence in what God is about to do. As a way of suggesting that salvation is already at hand, the song uses past tense verbs to describe God's actions in the future. Without a doubt, Luke is saying, God's promises can and do come true.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed. Amen.
Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)
46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."