Archive for December 17th, 2017
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” [NRSV]
From Peterson’s, “The MESSAGE” Lk 1.41-56 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me? The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true! And Mary said, I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home. [MES]
Mary Looks at her Self and See God at Work.
It is not every unwed expectant teen mother-to-be who looks at her situation and see’s God’s magnificent working in her life. But is this something we can transfer to ourselves, or is this only an example reserved for the mother of Jesus?
In preparing to share our gift of faith, we too need to be passionate about God’s work in our own lives.
I believe that the greatest hesitation to sharing our faith with another person is related to the doubts, fears, questions, and uncertainties we might have about our own faith, that makes us reluctant to “get all excited” about telling the news to someone else.
So before we sign off this example as something only the mother of Jesus can be “that” excited about, let look at the setting and context.
Mary has gone to be nurtured and protected by a beloved family member, not in her home community, who is going through a similar circumstance.
Separate these three factors:
1. A trusted family or friend who you would feel comfortable showing up at their house to wrestle through a difficult time or experience.
If you have one phone call to make: Who would you call that could be most helpful to you?
2. Mary visits someone out of town, there is the luxury of retreat and respite, in her visit with Elizabeth. She does not reach out to the most convenient person, but the most trusted to receive and give her space and council.
3. She reaches out to share her journey and struggle with someone who is going through the same journey. One of the great strengths of a 12 step ministry is the genuineness of sharing the journey to find encouragement and accountability from those who are also needing encouragement and accountability.
Who to share our gift of faith:
I’m guessing that even though you might have heard even half of the past eight sermons on faith sharing and hear the invitation to identify someone to share your faith with a Christmas gift, I’m guessing the majority have thought about the idea, but not decided or made a concrete choice of who to give you faith story update.
Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus for an example: She goes to a trusted person, who was not in her everyday circle who would welcome, encourage and guide her.
Imagine ourselves in this context and it is easier to answer the question, “How does my soul glorify the Lord?”
I had an opportunity to share my faith with one of my best friends this week.
In this case, he did the traveling to see me, but we could have just as easily talked on the phone, Facetime, or I could have traveled with me. What each of us took the time to share how God has been working in our lives. Where we have failed and fallen short, where God has shone up to bless and save us. My friend Shawn is always a call or message away. We had a real heart to heart sharing where we each needed to confess, encourage and celebrate the passion where God shows up in our lives.
The Good News: we share is not how faithful ‘we’ are, rather how God is.
Mary’s magnificent hymn is not about how great Mary is, it his about how great God is in her life, in her situation, in her problems, in her opportunities, in her struggle.
This is the song we are called to sing and share:
Make your list and check it twice:
- Who are you going to call when you need encouragement, renewal an accountability?
- Where have you needed God to show up most?
- Where have you seen God working
- What is God about to do that is going to shape the next part of your life.
2. What are you struggling with That God can or has transformed that you can be passionate about?
- Talk about where God is working
- Share about what God is unfolding next
Now it’s almost Christmas: Christ-Mas (God with Us – Worship)