Monday, December 5, 2016

Looking Forward to December 11, 2016 -- Advent 3, the Annunciation

The Scripture Reading this week is Luke 1:26-49

The Sermon title is Congratulations!


Early thoughts:  Hi Mary, favoured by God. Congratulations! You are having a baby!

Or maybe a more classic formulation:
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

But what did Mary think? Did it really feel like a congratulations moment?

Mary is an interesting character in the faith story. Strong yet humble. Virgin yet mother. And, according to the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, she herself was conceived sinless. What do we do with her?

For many years some in Protestant circles have not done much, because to be too Marian was to approach Papist practices. But that seems to be ebbing, we seem to be talking about Mary a bit more. Still I am not sure what to make of her, what to make of this announcement.

Much of the talk about the Annunciation scene is about what God is doing (sensible since in the end that is the main topic of Scripture -- how is God active in our world). But if we take seriously that God is in relationship with God's people, a people who have free will, we have to talk about Mary's role in the story.

I suspect most teen girls in this day and age (or any other age for that matter) would not feel that congratulations were in order when they first got the news that they were pregnant at the wrong time. I wonder how many would feel blessed at first?

Luke's account of Jesus' birth focuses our attention squarely on Jesus' mother, Mary of Nazareth. Maybe to fully explore Luke's story and Luke's understanding of what God is doing we should take a closer look at her too.

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