Mary Our Icon

This sermon can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year B - 4th Sunday of Advent, 2020

Psalm                         Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26                                                   
First Reading                2 Sam 7:1-11, 16                    
Second Reading         Rom 16:25-27                        
Gospel                           Luke 1:26-38               
What I want to say:
To explore who is Mary, and how she is our icon, helping us
-          live love
-          be a disciple
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on the Mary’s of today and how we honour them

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

Traditionally on of the themes for Advent 4 is a time to honour Mary
è What comes to mind when you think of Mary
o   what words or titles
     ð Discuss


       2.     The Church – one extreme

Always struggled with how to view Mary
over centuries – whole range responses to her
Most Christians – Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglo Catholic, some Lutherans (vast majority Christians world wide) –very significant figure
            Mother of God
            which some – just under level of God
-         some in medieval thought – elevate her to Goddess
o   quartenity – putting her par and including her in Trinity
difference between orthodox and catholic – Mary’s death
just outside of Jerusalem find Orthodox of tomb of Mary
-         RC – no tomb
o   Believe she was bodily assumed into heaven
Important prayer in these traditions Angelus
prayed by Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans up to 3 times a day
-         Hear again words Angel heard today,
-         invited to reflect on what that might mean for us
within Orthodox tradition known as theotokis
-         literally means bringing forth of God, God bearer
-         acts as model for us all – that we become God bearers here and now

       3.     The church - other extreme

other extreme
-         Protestant church
-         who in reaction to above
o   work hard almost write her out of story
except at Christmas – hard to ignore

       4.     Rest of us

Rest of us not
sure what make of all this
Because of our Protestant heritage –
-         mother of God can make us feel very uncomfortable

       5.     Bible

Mary has been an enigma, even a problem, since very beginning
see it in way NT treats her
            Mark – most memorable appearance –with Jesus’ brothers and sisters and try take him home – think off his rocker
            Matthew not much better – although at empty tomb
            John – not mentioned by name
o   Is present at number important events
            Paul – not mentioned at all
            Luke presented positive and important light
                        She is one of heroes of story
(Matthew is Joseph)
Poor young women plays central role
More than that for Luke
She is model of Christian discipleship
                                    – i.e. one who all people, men and women should emulate

       6.     The real Mary

When look for image of Mary
o   Amazed so many wealthy young woman
·        Far from truth
·        Probably 14 or 15 year old peasant girl,  (peasant girl)
·        Lived in cave with family (Mary’s cave)
·        Small poor village Nazareth – not thought highly of
·        No say in her life
o   Done what mother commanded
o   Learning what meant to be wife
o   So that when father arranged marriage, (as he had) she could honour family name being good dutiful wife
o   fulfil her duty well
To this young peasant girl Luke tell us comes Archangel Gabriel
We often talk about Mary's being willing - assumes choice
o          Unsure if she even has a choice,
o          Lived without choice
o          No choice in Gabriel’s words
o          Mary's question is not one of choice, just confusion, how can this be
o          She does as she. is expected
o          More than accept
o          In Luke at least – she understands that something significant is happening here
In Luke she becomes someone significant for those who joined the Way of Christ
-         More than just Jesus’ mother
She was prophet
Who teaches in her own response what it means to be a disciple?
And live way of love.
I wonder how Mary helps us live as disciples
How does she into the other theme for today
-         Love

       7.     Magnificat

wonder if Luke had met, even knew Mary
o          which is why he gives her more prominence
o          where the Magnificat comes from
o          I wonder if Mary’s Song - the Magnificat something that she said - end of her life
o          placed in here in her pregnancy
o          No longer just 12 year old peasant girl betrothed to carpenter
o          obedient
o          happens to be pregnant
o          understands that through this dangerous event
o          she has become the agent of God’s liberation,
o          God's sign of hope for her people liberation now
o          In this statement she becomes a prophet in her own right
o          Gives us this radical and powerful protest song
o          Reveals the heart of her understanding of God’s love at work
o          What it means to be a disciple
o          to live the way of that love

       8.     The poor

World that Mary lived in
-          poor people were poor because it was the will of God
            some (those deserve it) are rich powerful, many poor
            how it should be
            theology at work in All Things Bright and Beautiful
needed keep businesses going
essentially the same thing
right order of things to have rich and poor
that is how the world should be
to which Mary counters every single one of those arguments
offers an alternative
o   Magnificat - link coming of Jesus directly into hopes Mary and family and village for an end roman rule and restoration of David's kingdom.                   restoration of peace and wealth for all
o       Coming Christ is not just about future, but in Luke is about reign of God's justice now
o       Mary is to be the sign of that
·          Luke at least, Christmas is coming of Gods hope
·          Cry poor has been heard
·          Gods reign justice and peace has begun
·        as heard last week:
good news is brought to the poor.
release to the captives is proclaimed
the blind recover their sight,
the oppressed go free,
the year of the Lord's favour is proclaimed!”[1]

       9.     what then is love

-           First observations are that this love is
-           very disruptive
-           Very dangerous
-           Unsettling and upsetting
-           Life giving
-           Invites us to see the world very differently

       10. So What

What does Mary teach us about the way of love

What difference does that make as we look to celebrating this Christmas


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