I have been thinking about Mary lately. Quite a bit, actually. In December I preached a sermon about Mary and a sermon about Joseph. No longer preaching weekly, I also had the opportunity to listen to a sermon at our local CRC congregation about Mary. Mary has got me thinking… and there is definitely something about Mary.
Among the things I have been thinking about Mary is how many inadequate sermons I have heard about her. It seems that it is almost a Protestant Christmas tradition to either preach or hear (depending on ones station) a sermon filled with faint praise for the Mother of God.
You have heard the sermon I am talking about? Maybe you have preached it? Maybe I have? The sum is something like this.. “well, Mary was a fine young girl, and God blessed her, BUT… blah, blah, blah, humbug” sermon. Or the, Mary was a nice girl but…. fill in a long list of anti-Marian mutterings followed by a handful of egalitarian platitudes all justified as a warning for folks without the faintest notion of engaging in any form of Marian devotion from committing idolatry. Why? The Bible says that all generations will call her blessed. Why not embrace the biblical duty?
I am not saying Protestants should go out and buy rosary beads and start praying to Mary. But, even if Roman zeal for Marian devotion does justify some Protestant response, what Protestants have to say about Mary must be more than a negative reaction to Rome. Our relationship to Mary must not be defined by our controversies but by our understanding of the Scripture and by our unity with Christ. What happens when we apply our biblical theology to the place of Mary in Scripture?
Can we really deny a biblical theological connection between Eve and Mary? Why should Protestants deny that Mary is the second Eve? Is Mary not THE woman whose seed crushed the head of the serpent? Was she not the mother of Christ? As we are Christ’s brothers and sisters, must she not be, in some way, our mother as well? The New Creation, of which we are a part, burst forth into this age through her blessed womb. In that sense, we are all her children.
As I consider this humble Hebrew girl, and consider that God chose her to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, I am awed. This woman bore the Creator of the universe in her womb. He clutched to her breasts as a babe. She soothed his infant fears giving him the joy and comfort that a mother provides to her children. The Second Person of the GodHead, the Eternal Son of God, owed (owes) to her all of the duties of the 5th Commandment, the Creator bound to honor His creature. Mind-blowing. And Blessed indeed.
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