Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mother of God

Next Sunday the Gospel takes us to Nazareth where the angel Gabriel is giving Mary a message of utmost important. Whenever you see angels in scripture, something big is about to take place. God is on the move and he sends out heavenly messengers.

We Protestants have never known quite what to do with Mary. We are leery about giving attention to anybody but God or Jesus. We wonder about the adoration of Mary. Oh, we’ll worship a car, mind you, but we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn into the exaltation of Mary. We’ll worship political or athletic figures, but Mary?

Mary and I were sitting in a restaurant with friends recently. It was the night before the big Republican presidential nominee debate in Spartanburg. We were eating away when all of a sudden in comes a large entourage of people. They were moving someone along in a hurry. It was Rick Perry. They shuffled him over to a booth in the back where no one could get to him. Mary and I commented how strange it was that he didn’t speak to a person in the restaurant. It was interesting to note our interest in this public figure. He’s not even the front-runner and we were looking to see what we could see. We do that with celebrities all the time.

This led to a conversation about the times when we had seen famous people. Once, when Mary, my wife, worked in a newspaper office in Moncks Corner, SC, Fritz Hollings, the Senator was up for re-election. He walked in to their office and shook hands. Mary was surprised at how big and good looking he was. She still tells that with her mouth gaping open.

Back when I was in college, we went to Columbia Airport to see Richard Nixon ride by in a convertible. He was a small man with a great tan. This was before Watergate had broken loose.

You see my point. We Protestants are so scared we will worship the wrong thing when it comes to God, but we readily turn our worship to celebs and others, not thinking that we are elevating them to godlike status.

I wouldn’t say that we should worship Mary but we should honor her. She is, after all, the “mother of God”. It’s hard to imagine that she was a virgin. In our modern culture, we don’t know what that is anymore. It’s even more difficult to imagine that she was only about fourteen years of age. You had to grow up fast in those days.

Bright-eyed, fourteen, she is a woman of faith. The long history and heritage of Jewish hope and expectation are in her body, mind and spirit. Soon, in her body will be a miracle of miracles. She will bring forth for the world the one who is Savior. And, how does she respond to the angel’s message. She says: “Let it be…” Let it be to me as you have said. Let the will of God come to me and through me. Let my life be a sacrifice to God’s purposes and ways.

This Sunday, in the grand parade of Christmas characters, Mary passes. Look at how young she looks. See how beautiful she is. Notice that, in spite of what is going on in the world, in spite of the Romans, in spite of the fact that she has every reason not to hope, she hopes and is faithful. Can you hear? She is telling God: “Let it be…” Let the great move that you are doing come to me. Honor her as one of the most faithful people ever to live. I can understand a bit if you want to talk to her.

Blessings!
Dave Nichols

2 comments:

  1. Mary as a person of faith yes. Mary as one we ask to pray for us on our behalf NO! Jesus is our ONLY mediator, and thanks to his saving work, gives us direct access to God. Why go to Mary when we can go to Jesus directly?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @ Dim Lamp: Why ask any of out brothers or sisters in Christ to pray for us instead of "going directly to Christ"?

    ReplyDelete

Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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