Monday, December 19, 2011

Congratulations! It's a boy!

December 18th, 2011
4th Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

Please pray with me, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen. 

On this 4th Sunday of Advent, we hear the story of Mary.  A story that we seem to know by heart,
26-28In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

   Good morning!
   You're beautiful with God's beauty,
   Beautiful inside and out!
   God be with you.
 29-33She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

   He will be great,
      be called 'Son of the Highest.'
   The Lord God will give him
      the throne of his father David;
   He will rule Jacob's house forever—
      no end, ever, to his kingdom."
 34Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man."
 35The angel answered,

   The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
      the power of the Highest hover over you;
   Therefore, the child you bring to birth
      will be called Holy, Son of God.
 36-38"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."
   And Mary said,

   Yes, I see it all now:
      I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
   Let it be with me
      just as you say.
   Then the angel left her.
As we continue to prepare our hearts and our homes and our lives for the moment God breaks into our world, as we continue to point to the coming Messiah, this week gives us an opportunity to focus on Mary’s call story.  We hear this week how God broke into Mary’s heart and Mary’s life and told her what her part in God’s plan would be. 

This is some pretty amazing stuff going on here, because here’s the thing about Mary.  She wasn’t dubbed Miss Nazareth, she hadn’t entered and won the sweepstakes to bear God’s son.  She was a humble young woman, betrothed to Joseph just living her life.  She had no idea that this great call would come to her.  And when the message came to her, she didn’t say, oh wait, let me think about this. 

She didn’t say, now, how will this impact my life, my family, my future.?
She didn’t say, woah, what will the townspeople, my parents and Joseph think of me?
While she may have had some of these thoughts, she doesn’t take the time to voice them. 

The angel doesn’t come to Mary and say, how would you feel about being the mother to God’s son?  Would you be up for it?  Say Mary, here’s God’s amazing plan for saving the world, are you okay with playing a key role in it? 

Nope, the angel doesn’t really give her the option to answer….because God has called her.
God has chosen Mary.  There’s no opportunity to say no, because she’s the one. 

Mary does, however, ask, “How can this be?” 
She is human, of course and probably was wondering about the details…who wouldn’t? 

But this doesn’t deter her from saying yes. 
She is an amazing woman.  She hears God’s call in her life and she responds, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” 

In the midst of the season where we are preparing for God with us, Emmanuel, to be in our presence, in our hearts and in our world…sometimes this story seems like an amazing, one in a million occurrence of God calling one of God’s chosen to join in on the mission of saving the world.  And what makes this story amazing….is that Mary says yes.  She hears God’s call for her and she responds, positively. 

So, how does this story speak to us this day? 
God is breaking into our hearts every single day.  God is calling each and every one of us to be a part of this mission to love and save the world. 

We may not be called upon to physically give birth to the Son of God. 
But that does not belittle the fact that through our baptism, we have been called, by God, to live out lives of love and service to others, to bring Christ into the world. 

Mary was called to do a very tangible thing, to birth God’s love into the world, to proclaim that God’s promises are fulfilled.  Aren’t we asked to do the same? 

Meister Eckhart, a medieval mystic and theologian wrote, “We are all meant to be mothers of God.  What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself?  And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace and if I am not also full of grace?  What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to the Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and in my culture?  This, then is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.” 

God comes to each and every one of us, proclaiming good news of great joy to all people. 
We are each called and claimed and sent into this world to bear Christ to those around us. 

How will you hear God’s call this day? 
How will you live out the promise God made with you in baptism, that you are loved and saved, claimed and sent? 

How will your words and actions bring Christ into your home, your school, your place of work, the community and the world? 

    Good morning!
   You're beautiful with God's beauty,
   Beautiful inside and out!
   God be with you.

Now go and bear Christ to the world.  Through what you say and what you do.  Through your ability to see others in the world and respond to their needs.  Through letting go of the things that get in the way of proclaiming Christ in your words and deeds. 
Go, bear Christ to the world! For he is coming and he is with us. 

And may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and let all God’s people say, amen. 

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