this Sunday is the commemoration of the Day that the Church has
traditionally held when Mary Died. This past week many people died
in many places, each one unique and a blessing to the friends and
family members they influenced and the particular part of the
world where they lived.
As we think of Mary's life described in various ways in all 4
of the Gospels, we discover Mary's generous faith as she is
lavishing her Praises to God for all of his benefits to her. Mary
is enamored (she is positively glowing) with the knowledge that
she has been chosen to bear the Christ Child into the world and
that God is going to work out the plan of salvation for all people
through her "lowliness" and by the Son she carries. It is a
beautiful story of a young woman who fully gives of herself to God
and we can learn much by Mary's example.
In the scriptures we only gain a very limited view of Mary–and
yet she holds one of the highest positions of adoration in the
church -- just below the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
As a mother, we know that Mary cares about her Son, Jesus, like
most other mothers would, but even she was human . . . not
superhuman. We hear this exemplified when, unbeknownst to Mary and
Joseph, the boy Jesus had stayed back at the Temple in Jerusalem
to talk with the teachers there rather than following along with
the rest of family members and neighbors on the trip back home.
Joseph and Mary, as young parents, became very alarmed when they
realized that Jesus was not among the group, and they had to go
back Jerusalem (a day's journey) to find their son Jesus. Upon
finding him (perhaps around dinner time), Mary said, "Child, why
have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been
searching for you in great anxiety." Thus, we know that Mary was
like us, perhaps caught up in adult conversation while traveling
with relatives and friends in from Nazareth, she kind of forgot
about Jesus for a little while. Oh, to be sure, no doubt Mary
assumed that Jesus was with some of his cousins somewhere in the
throng along the road, but upon realizing he was missing – she is
immediately concerned about his welfare . . . . And, as a parent,
she was not afraid to question her young Son's behavior.
Can you imagine disciplining the Son of God? How hard would
But most importantly for us is Mary's response to the plan of
God announced by the angel Gabriel. Her life becomes a model for
Mary embraces this new event in her life with incredible
courage and brevity. She is so self-confident! and unassuming as
she recites her song, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit
rejoices in God mySavior, for he has looked with favor on the
lowliness of his servant."
Mary excepts what God brings into her life as an incredible
blessing – she is glad to be a servant of the Lord – her
willingness to surrender to what God wills to do in her life
provides an example for how we might also be used of God to carry
out his purposes in our time and in the places where we live.
On the other hand, what if she had said no to the pronouncement
of the angel? Or what if her family had told her to abort the
child? What if her community had shunned her or Joseph had not
been told to take Mary as his wife?
There are serious implications when one becomes the bearer
of God's child into the world.
And it comes back to us; what about our children who are also
God's children, or even closer to home, what about OUR LIVES,
which are Bound up in and with God through Mary's child, Jesus
Christ? The Lives we live -- like our possessions are entrusted to
us for just a short while. What will we do with what God has given
us, will we entrust ourselves to God's will as Mary did? Or will
we go our own way, follow our own destiny or desires – or will we
just say no to God when he calls us to bear his love to the world?
With these questions lingering in our minds, we pause here
momentarily to ask, "Can God work in our Lives as he did with this
young girl named Mary??" . . . Oh, don't worry, there will only be
ONE MARY, the Mother of Our LORD!!
And yet we must ask, "What does God will to do in your life or
mine? What benefit for others, especially the ‘lowly' people of
the world can God derive from our lives? Or the talents we might
have to give?"
The Following story is about a man named George who goes to see
a cancer specialist, Dr. Rachel.
"At the age of 45, George had patented a part of a medical
invention that became integral to helping thousands of people. He
was the CEO of a successful company that manufactured the device
and he became a well-to-do business man with significant
investments and material wealth. By most standards, George led an
Six months before coming to my office, George had been told
that he had lung cancer. His cancer was widely metastatic at the
time it was found, and his physicians had told him that he did not
have long to live. He told me this at his first visit to my
Now I must explain that Dr. Rachel's office was not
traditional, since she lived in a houseboat and therefore her
office was there, docked along the shore along the west coast of
California. Dr. Rachel goes on to explain that she liked George
and so did her "houseboat cat" which proceeded to jump on his lap
and thereby, cover his expensive "Armani suite" with fur! But
George didn't seem to mind. The Dr. continues,
"His diagnosis had shaken George badly, I had expected that he
would be depressed about the hopelessness of his situation, but
this was not the case. There was a lot else on his mind. ‘I have
waste my life, Dr. Rachel.' He told me flatly. ‘I have two
ex-wives and five children. I support all of them but I don't know
any of them. I never took the time to know them or anyone else. I
have spent my life doing business, building my company from an
idea in the basement to what it is today. I do not think they will
miss me. I've nothing behind me but a lot of money.' He looked
away and shook his head. ‘What an old fool I've been . . . a
stupid old fool.'"
Now I have to explain that the thing that George had invented
"enabled people whose chronic disease was previously unmanageable
to live almost normally again. Dr. Rachel knew that a patient of
hers used the device and that it had changed her life dramatically
– an idea formed in the Doctor's mind. She would ask Stephanie,
the woman whose quality of life had become so radically
transformed because of George's device, if she would be willing to
meet the man who had invented the device. After thinking it over,
Stephanie became increasingly excited to meet the person who had
made living possible for her that was previously unimaginable and
plans were made.
A spark of curiosity was also set off for George, he told the
Dr. that he would take this woman out for an nice dinner at an
expensive restuarant – to which Dr. Rachel replied, "I don't think
that is what Stephanie has in mind." George was puzzled at this
response to his generous offer. Dr. Rachel went on to explain that
Stephanie desired for George to come to her house for supper.
"The week after this dinner, he sat in my office shaking his
head in wonder. He had expected to have a quiet evening with this
woman and her husband, but instead there was a large group of
people waiting as he entered into Stephanie's home." The crowd
included her parents, her children, her neighbors and many
friends. The evening proceeded by each person telling a part of
the story of Stephanie's life. From the devastating effects of the
disease that she had through to the time when she had received the
device George helped to create. It was an evening of awakening for
George and celebration of new life! George describes the result of
the evening saying, "At the very end, Stephanie came to me and
said, ‘This is really a story about you, George. We thought you
needed to know.' And I did, I did!"
Dr. Rachel explains how at this point she is all teared up.
"How many of these things do you make George?" "Close to ten
thousand," he said softly. "I just knew the numbers, Dr. Rachel. I
had no idea what they meant."
"God's mercy is for those who fear him from generation to
generation. 1:51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has
scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 1:52 He has
brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the
lowly; 1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent
the rich away empty. 1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, in
remembrance of his mercy, 1:55 according to the promise he made to
our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Mary expresses the hopes and dreams of God for the benefit of
Israel, her people . . . but even more, the hopes and dreams for
the child she will bear include deliverance for all people
throughout the world. Be inspired by Mother Mary . . . bring to
birth God's calling on your life that reflects Mary's song of
justice and the goodness of God.
more writings of Pastor Jon