In the new Glory to God hymnal there’s a hymn that’s quickly becoming a favorite of many Presbyterians. Based on Mary’s song (or the Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-56, Canticle of the Turning joyously celebrates the coming of God’s justice to the world. The chorus reads:
My heart shall sing of the day you bring
Let the fires of your justice burn
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn
Although we often associate Mary with meekness, Mary’s song shows her in a different role. She speaks in Luke 1 as a prophetess, declaring “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (v. 52-3). Mary understood what the coming of the Messiah meant for the world: God’s justice poured out on the world, corruption brought down, and the weak and humble raised up. Jesus’ coming meant everything was about to change, or in the words of Canticle of the Turning, “the world is about to turn.”
As we wait for the arrival of Christmas, let us celebrate the one who raised up women, who treated the outcasts as equals, who chased the moneylenders from the temple, and condemned the powerful who enforced systems of injustice. Let us remember our call to continue the work that Christ began, to fight injustice, so that God’s mercy and justice may be poured out upon the earth. Be joyful, for our God is turning the world around.
For your viewing pleasure, the translation of Canticle of the Turning written by my friend Cristhian and I last year, with a special appearance by Jair.