Bearing Christ for the World
† In Jesus Name †
As we contemplate the praises that a young pregnant girl offers, because she trusts in God’s promises, not just for her, but for the people of God, can we as well be blessed because we trust in Him, as we bring Christ into the world as well.
How much confirmation means
The bottom line – you are blessed because you trust God at His word..
But the things she trusts in God for, we should as well
Some think she was sent to her cousin in disgrace, a young teenage girl – pregnant prior to her marriage. The timing is off for that – for she left a few short days after Gabriel brought her the message of God’s intentions for her- which makes Elizabeth’s words all the more… incredible.
I would think she hadn’t told anyone but in a hurry takes the opportunity and leaves town – but caring for her aunt gave her a chance to get away, to contemplate the incredible message, to try and figure out what to tell her fiancé, her family, her friends.
Remember – back then – such a disgrace was often punished by throwing her out of the house – and throwing stones at her.
She gets to her cousins house, probably deep in thought, a bit anxious, and though not doubting God, the implications of being chosen by Him for a purpose still dominating her thoughts, her emotions. And in the midst of this – without any prompting, her cousin Elizabeth proclaims,
[Mary] “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.
Put together with the words of Gabriel – these form the beginning of the prayer anyone who grew up catholic knows quite well, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thine womb – Jesus!
These words of Elizabeth, so powerful, so confirming, fueled by the power and joy of the Holy Spirit, confirm that which was already known… but oh what peace it is, to have confirmed that which God has already made clear is His will in one’s life. No longer can it simply be discounted as a dream of a young girl – but a reality.
But let’s not overlook the rest of Elizabeth’s words, indeed we cannot – for they form the foundation – not only for the reason Mary is called blest, but for the sermon as well!
44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
You are blessed because you believe the Lord would do what He said…
That my friends, is not only Mary’s blessing – but yours as well.
Let’s see why
He hasn’t forgotten me!
Mary responds to Elizabeth’s words, with words of her own, words of praise, words that adoringly reveal the glory of God she is witnessing. These are not the kind of words you would expect from a teenage girl – unless that teenage girl was filled with the Spirit of God. Hear again the first section.
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
Have you ever felt that God was so busy, He forgot about you for the moment? That your prayers went to voicemail? Have you ever felt that you weren’t important to God? Growing up, I was often the odd man out, and while I didn’t mind persay, I you sometimes wondered if God knew who I was, any more than those whose lives flashed past mine. I get what Mary is saying here.
The word that “took notice” is translated from is an incredibly powerful word. It’s look and deep perception and discernment combined. This kind of look pierces all of our outside illusions and comes right to the core of our being. God the father took notice of Mary, even as He takes notice of us – each one of us, and places within us His love, His peace. And as she realizes this depth of God’s concern for her, as she realizes how He will work in her life – the joy and worship just flows from her soul….it will know no limitations in this moment, and yes – we do count her blessed – for she trusted in His love.
Bringing this home, there is not one of us, that isn’t so blessed. There is not one of us, that goes without God “taking notice of us”. To realize that He does love us, that He is interested in us, that He is immanent, transcendent, incarnate in our lives as well as Mary’s – that is an intimacy with God that goes beyond anything we can imagine.
The question is – do we realize it – do we hear the voices that confirm it, just as Mary heard Elizabeth’s cry of joy?
He has done something wonderful for me!
Mary moves on from the realization that God takes notice of us, as her praises slightly transistion,
49 For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me!
Pastor’s pet peeve moment – why doesn’t that sentence end with a exclamation point? What were the translators thinking – imagine how they would have felt – if on Christmas day, when their children and spouse opened their presents, if the reaction was, o what a great present.. no, they want to hear their children exult with glee – excitement – and yeah – hugs and thanks.
Yet they used a period her. Yup – God is mighty and holy and He did some great, well good sorta, well nice things for me – PERIOD.
Can’t you see the women dancing in each other’s arms, the mother of the prophet, and the mother of Jesus, the mother of God. Can’t you hear their laughter – their joy, their excitement? Or do you think this scene occurs with the high dignity of English tea time?
Sure – Mary is not thinking about the cross yet, or the resurrection – while she knows her Son will be the promised one, that the baby- just barely forming in her womb – is the Lord who will change everything – who will turn the world upside down.
Would we, who have been joined to Christ incarnate, whose bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – as much the temple of God as the young lady whose body bore the son of God, rejoice as well as we bear God for the world!
While I would admit there is a difference – that being physical – in both Mary and our lives, the presence of God is indeed what makes us blessed, it is why we rejoice! It is something beyond wonder, beyond amazement, that God would look upon us and choose us, that He would bless us, that He would abide with us.
He does something for those like me!
I find it extraordinary as well – that Mary’s magnificat doesn’t end there – with God doing wonderful, great things for her. Her song takes a final transition, as she realizes this wonderful thing is not just about her…but a blessing for the entire world. Let me call your attention to verses, 50, 53, 54, and 55
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
It is amazing to me, that Mary takes this incredible news in her life – and realizes that it isn’t just about her – that all those who desperately need to know God’s mercy, that its about those who are hungry for something more in life, that He fills, that those in need of help He has helped – as He pours out His loving mercy to them, even as He promised…
That it is finally about the descendant of Abraham – the one long promised coming, the Lord who would bless every nation, who would create from a bunch of sinners like us, a people for God – a people for God to Love.
The early church fathers, the pastors and bishops of the first few centuries – often talked of Mary as a image, a symbol of the church. That the qualities that make her unique in some ways, are the very qualities one finds in the bride of Christ, the church, Often this is talked about, as she answers Gabriel’s message with the “let it be done according to Thy Word.”
As well, I think the incredible quality of hers, to see the effect of God’s presence in her life, as it affects others, is also a major characteristic of the church. For that is our call as believers – as those who bear God’s name, who are the temple of the Holy Spirit – a place people can find forgiveness, and healing and peace, even as Jesus brings those things into our life.
For we as well bear Christ, we bring Him into the world, and in doing so, share with others the intimacy, the love, and peace He has given us, for we are blessed for we believe God would do, did do, what He said He would, in Christ. AMEN?