From Christopher Rowland, Radical Christianity, p14:
For centuries (and still today) half way through the service the words of a young Jewish woman are sung… It is difficult to hear the words of Mary’s song, the Magnificat, in the midst of the opulence of the surroundings and the close identification of [the] institution with the dominant cultural ethos of the powerful. What do the worshippers make of the claim that the God they have come to worship is about to put down the mighty from their seat and exalt the humble and meek? Not least, when barely two pages later… they will be asked to pray for the Queen…. What incongruence that the song of a young woman celebrating the poor and the outcast will be sung, often with macho zeal, by a choir of men when women are frequently excluded from participating in the music and leadership of the worship….