Summary: We always know who Mary was the mother of our Lord, but forget that for a moment, and focus on her faith and her calling, and you will see how powerful and relevant that is for us today. Read on and enjoy !!!
This sermon (Advent 2 year B) was delivered to St Oswald’s in Maybole,
Ayrshire, Scotland on the 7th December 2014 by Gordon McCulloch
(a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Summary: We always know who Mary was, but forget that for a moment, and focus on her faith and her calling, and you will see how powerful and relevant that is to us today. Read on and enjoy!!!
Today’s reading is from Luke chapter 1, verses 26-1:38
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Please be seated, and join me in a short prayer. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord our strength and our redeemer". Amen. (Psalms. 19:14)
Today we take a look at Mary as a woman of faith, and not simply as the mother of our Lord; … in fact there are so many ways we can categories Mary because through church history, ... Mary, the mother of Jesus, ... has never been given her proper place due to the fact that we do not really know where to place Mary; … and we all know the controversy this has caused throughout the centuries. I certainly do not want to add to this, but we all know that it is so easy to take offense when discussing this topic.
Even in this church, there is a diversity of agreement as to who Mary actually is, but in the end it seams to boil down to our own personal believe; … and I for one can live with that but I do not want to upset anyone this morning, nor do I want to ram my beliefs down anybodies throat so I will refer to scripture rather than doctrine or hearsay, … believing in what God says in his word to be true.
So to make a start, … there are many people throughout history who want to make Mary divine, calling her the immaculate conception, sinless from birth, but this takes away all her human qualities, … which if you think about it, belittles her great achievements as a human being.
To others, more so in the outspoken Protestant churches, they take the opposing view and want to belittle Mary, in fact to completely ignore her, … and to some extent that was the way I was brought up.
Now I personally feel that we should neither worship nor ignore her, neither should we insult her because she is idolised, as we will soon hear from scripture that this was in no way her choosing, nor her fault.
Now we can all agree that God had to choose somebody, and he chose Mary for a great and significant task in the redemption of mankind, … she was the mother who gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ; … end of.
… And we all agree that Mary successfully accomplished this special calling of God, … in spite of her many human failings, … and so, Mary’s wonderful faith in her God can teach us powerful lessons today if we will only but learn from her.
A few Christmases ago, I gave a sermon on why Mary was chosen for this great work, but today I want to share with you why this great Calling was carried out through Mary, and I want to draw your attention in particular to the faith of Mary which sustained her through this plan of God, … faith that God wants us to develop, and faith to see us through our earthly life.