Summary: Mother’s Day Sermon. A look at Mary as a model for motherhood in our world today.
Mary, A Model of Motherhood
Mother’s Day holds its share of joys and sorrows.
Many of us have (or have had) good mothers and carry a multitude of pleasant memories.
However, some of us have lost our mothers, some at a young age, and thus this day holds positive memories but also a share of grief and sorrow.
Others of us have may have had mothers who were far from God’s ideal, and for us this day is bitter and angry.
Some of us of the female gender have longed to be mothers, but God did not have it in the plan for us, and we come to this day with questions and even resentment.
Other women have been given children whom they have loved and served, but who in turn rejected them and went on to life in a manner that brings pain to a mother’s heart, and for them today is a day of sorrow.
Those experiences are what make it very difficult for a pastor to speak a message into a group of people who bring such a varied collage of experiences.
However, I will try.
As I pondered this day, I was led to what is perhaps the most popular mother of all in Scripture—Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In coming to this text, I am very aware that in many ways our Catholic brothers and sisters have elevated Mary to a level above what the Bible would justify. However, if that is true, then it is equally true that we Protestants have probably not given her enough honor and respect.
I am suggesting today that we see Mary as a Model of Good, Godly Motherhood.
However, first off we must recognize that there are some reasons why Mary may not make a very good model for motherhood.
· She was engaged to be married at a very young age, in the neighborhood of 14 to 16 years old.
Of course, that was a different culture, and a long time ago, life was different, opportunities limited for women, etc.
· She was found to be pregnant before she was married.
Of course, her pregnancy was unique, not a result of any “mistake” on her part or that of her earthly partner.
Nevertheless, these are not necessarily the areas I wish to highlight today.
David, it is said “was a man after God’s own heart.” That phrase does not justify his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Urriah, but rather looks to his repentance and brokenness over his sin once he was brought to fess up to it.
So too Mary is not a perfect person, she was not sinless, though she was chosen by God to bear his son, Jesus, the one who was Messiah and Savior.
Consequently, she must have been something!
There are three qualities I wish to lift up.
First, Mary understood her role as God’s servant.
Can you imagine the utter shock of looking up from your work, or prayers, one day and seeing this celestial being standing before you. I do not know what Gabriel looks like, but the last time he appeared to someone, at least as far as we know from scripture, the man, Daniel, fell prostrate before him out of awe and reverence (Dan. 8:16, 9:21).
Luke 1:28 says Mary was greatly troubled.
Even more troubling to Mary than the appearance of the angel was his message—she was to become pregnant.
I cannot imagine the shock that these words must have sent through Mary’s body.
Some mothers here this morning may have been shocked to have the doctor tell you this news, but the news was understandable because you had been sexually active.
May was a virgin. Naturally she asked how this could happen, and the angel explained that it was God’s act and that the child would be a special one—he would be the Messiah. That is what verses 32 and 33 mean.
However, miraculous or not, there were still troubling things to face:
What to tell Joseph? Will he leave me?
How to face her family?
What of the gossip in the community?
How to deal with the public shame and humility?
How to support a child? Mary was from a small village and a family without many means.
For those reasons, I find Mary’s response to Gabriel so amazing,
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Mary understood that she was called to be a servant.
A servant to God, called to do his will.
And his will for her was to be a servant of his by raising a child, a very special child. And raise him she did.
Every child is a gift from God. Not in the same sense that Jesus was, but a gift none the less.