Not everyone hates Mary. It’s easy to think that sometimes, especially when sitting in a protestant church. Pastors seem afraid to speak of Mary – Mother of Jesus – in a positive light, lest they give the opinion that we are worshipping her. Lutheran pastors are probably the worst in that regard.
For those who don’t know me, let me add I am a Lutheran, by marriage, but a Lutheran nonetheless. I don’t want you thinking that I’m picking on Lutherans here because that is not my intent. Most Lutherans are, however, overly cautious on anything that might be perceived as Catholic teaching. And so,they avoid Mary.
Mary, as a mother, has always fascinated me. I can’t imagine what she must have been thinking, or how she did the things she did. She was 13, 14 at the most, when Gabriel came to her and offered greetings. WOW — I haven’t really given her much thought lately, until.. A half sheet of paper fell out of a book bag this morning. On it are my notes from a Sunday School class I taught last December. Doesn’t mean much really, except that I taught a class DEFENDING Mary’s title as Mother of God as well as her dignity within our church. My passionate tone, opinions, and facts cover that half page of take home material.
I’m not sure what I remember most, the excitement over being allowed to lead the women’s class in December while pastor led the men – or the fact that I got teach on something that resonated so passionately within my spirit.
Like I said, Lutherans seem to be afraid of Mary. – Unless you are a Catholic – with a capital “C” Lutheran – and I recently learned that we have a few of those around. It was because of one such local pastor, that I found the courage to dig deeper into Mary’s story. By doing so, I found pieces of my own.
I’m looking at my notes today and I see my first point – Mary’s response to Gabriel seems flip, almost a “yeah what do you want” kind of response and why is that? Because Mary knew her history. She wasn’t the first person to “find favor” with the Lord. Abraham, Moses, and King David to name a few also found favor.
Having an angel of the Lord appear to you to say “you found favor” means only one thing really; Your life is about to be turned upside down. Go or someone is going to die.
Lot to ask of a 13 year old. Lot to ask of a 44 year old.
What has me pondering today, isn’t the message I taught on Mary, but the fact that I have roughly 50 of these pages scattered throughout my closet, into my den, and on my kitchen counters. Someone probably just needed that book bag, but still… I’m a little on the creeped out side because
Everywhere I look I see that phrase “Your life is about to be turned inside out – go – or people will die… Will you answer the call?
Edited to add: My liturgical studies have ended for now. I will write more about it later, but for now I’d like to leave this thought. There is a difference between capital C, Catholic and small c, catholic; one equals Rome, the other means universal. While I am grateful for the opportunity to dig more deeply into the things of God, I’ve learned that to replace a real relationship with Christ for the things of Christ (a worship service only from the hymnal) is like having a parishioner who mails in their tithe but doesn’t come to church. They’ve done their duty, but nothing more. They are bound by obligation and pride, but not love.