When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
By Paul McCartney ©Copyright Northern Songs. All Rights Reserved.
In protestant theology Mary gets a “bad rap” in terms of her role in the church. People are sobered by the thought that in some places Mary is worshipped essentially as a part of the Godhead and at the very least the early church moved Mary into the role of mediator. For whatever reason this was done it goes against a clear biblical principle “This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all” (1Tim. 2:2-6)
So for fear of being to Roman and not wanting to appear popish in any shape or form the Protestant church relegated Mary with some intentionality to a minor role in salvation history; degrading her; I believe wrongly. Mary plays a significant role is the Christian faith. We should give her the honor due her as scripture rightly acknowledges her as Favored One and Most Blessed Among Women. She is the Theotokos; the one who gives birth to God – more accurately translated God Bearer
God chose this young girl to bring forth the Jesus, Savior, Redeemer and Lord into this world. This moment stops all of history and everything changes. I am reminded of a quote by Peter Larsen; Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.” Mary bore the Son of God into this world and with a sentence that echoes through History, she says yes; Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
Mary prays a Dangerous Prayer. This year we designed a new retreat at Canterbury around this concept of Dangerous Prayer. (you can read more about this at CLICK HERE) There are many of these prayers in the scriptures but none more profound than this one from Mary. It is a prayer of surrender and obedience stemming from encounter and yielding transformation. You could say Dangerous Prayers are prayers we pray and if God answers them it will mean change. Sometimes we pray out of desperation; God if you don’t do something here we will perish. Sometimes we pray these in a bargaining fashion, If you do this God, I will… (fill in the blank). Regardless it is a specific kind of prayer where we are at our end; we have exhausted our resources, creativity and we surrender. Surrender is laying down our weapons, our defenses and embracing Almighty God, knowing he loves us and wants us to prosper in every aspect of our being. This is not about things; it is about a wholeness and healing that is ours by faith when we surrender. We have this promise from the prophet Jeremiah… For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD… (Jeremiah 29:11–14)
The way to change, the way to transformation and the way to a better life begins with surrender. Trusting in something bigger than yourself, seeking God through prayer, study, fellowship with other pilgrims yields in us a sense of purpose and calling. How do you want your life to be different? What are you willing to do?
On last lesson from Mary. I believe in a similar way we are called to be THEOTOKOS! You and I are to bear Jesus into this world – we birth him in acts of kindness and mercy – in compassion and caring. Jesus takes up residence in our lives when we repent and believe, trusting Him for our salvation and redemption. We say yes to Jesus and in turn by our actions and proclamation share Christ with others – we bear him into our places of work – our schools – the marketplace.