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Archive for August 15th, 2017

  

  The Mother of the Lord:  

St. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned repeatedly in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, with nearly a dozen of specific incidents in her life being recorded: 

  • her betrothal to Joseph;

  • the annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah;

  • her visitation to Elizabeth,

  • the mother of John the Baptizer;

  • the nativity of our Lord;

  • the visits of the shepherds and the Wise Men;

  • the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple;

  • the flight into Egypt;

  • the Passover visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve; the wedding at Cana in Galilee;

  • her presence at the crucifixion, when her Son commended her to the care of His disciple John;

  • and her gathering with the apostles in the Upper Room after the ascension, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.                                                                                                    

Thus she is present at most of the important events in her Son’s life. She is especially remembered and honored for her unconditional obedience to the will of God (“Let it be to me according to Your word” [Luke 1:38]); for her loyalty to her Son even when she did not understand Him (“Do whatever He tells you” [John 2:1-11]); and above all for the highest honor that heaven bestowed on her of being the mother of our Lord (“Blessed are you among women” [Luke 1:42]). According to tradition, Mary went with the apostle John to Ephesus, where she died. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Reflection:  The importance of the Virgin Mary in Scripture is such because it is attested in the Scriptures, God’s Word. Roman Catholics make too much of her and Lutherans too little and both are not keeping with Scripture. I think the Virgin Mary is only person of whom it could be said, and by her, “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed…” (Luke 1:  48).  But she knew the reason why:  

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,    and holy is his name.

 Luther: “Note that she does not say men will speak all manner of good of her, praise her virtues, exalt her virginity or her humility, or sing of what she has done.  But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.”

The Virgin Mary is the model of faith, as in by faith ye are saved through grace, and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God (Ephesians).  No wonder that next to the name “Mary”, “Grace” has been a name for our daughters.   Luther taught that faith is the root and love is the fruit and the blessed Virgin gave birth to the noblest fruit of the tree of Jesse:  the Son of God.  The Mother of God did not sing her own praises, but the praise of the Lord.  “My soul doth magnify the Lord…” She magnified by faith the Lord.  The Orthodox call her the Theotokos, the bearer of God and this honorific is orthodox and evangelical.  We do not pray to the saints but praise the Lord for His saints, and in particular Mary:

O higher than the cherubim,
More glorious than the seraphim,
Lead their praises, Alleluia!
Thou Bearer of the eternal Word,
Most gracious, magnify the Lord,
Alleluia! Alleluia! (“Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones”, #475, The Lutheran Hymnal)

One of  the historical phenomena has been Mary’s appearances, such as, at Fatima, Portugal and Lourdes,France . This simply did not occur as Scripture precludes such. The dear Woman who said at Cana about her Son, “Listen to him” still says this to us! She can not speak to us,only the Lord can and has.(Now, how did Bernadette and the Portugese children ‘see’ her:  remember the human imagination is powerful, as witness today that a white woman convinced herself she was black, children can think they are the wrong sex and the like).   Even her words in the Scriptures are not the last words, but the Lord’s Word is:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1)

Mary does not speak to her fellow Christians in new ways as her Son has spoken definitively the Word of the Gospel.  Again as the blessed Virgin said, Listen to him.  “My soul doth magnify the Lord”.  Can we do any less?  Not magnify Mary!  Neither forget her!    The holy Parents were sick with worry when they lost their son in the crowds at Passsover when Jesus was 12.  They found him in the Temple: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Even she needed to listen to her Son when he was still under her and Joseph’s care.  Mary, with the Apostles join together in the Lord’s  care and in praise of the Lord (Acts 1: 14) in his holy Church, His body of which Mary is member.  And as the Scripture teaches us:  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2: 3). So with the Mother of Our Lord I do count her more significant than myself! As a dear saint, and our fellow sister in her Son, her humility in faith and obedience, is to encourage our own.  In Christ, we are not alone!

Let us pray:  

Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Lord, still our hearts and minds in the Sabbath of Your forgiveness by which You have redeemed us from the old way of death to live and breathe in Your life, Your life which You first gave to Your Mother, that this dark world know You have come into our world for us and for our salvation. Amen.

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