Our August 15 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The August 22 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Isaiah 61:7-11 | Psalm 45:11-16
Galatians 4:4-7 | Luke 1:46-55
Did you notice that I didn’t say, nor the bulletins imply, that today is St. Mary’s Day? Although, she is sometimes referred to as such. No, today, we remember her as something else. In the Fourth Century, the Church (whole Church then), bestowed upon her a special title, which she still bears, Mary is the “Theotokos,” which means “the Mother of God.” You can sort of see that in the title of today’s festival, “Mother of Our Lord,” but it is toned down a bit. Mother of God: the child she bore is the Son of God, and God Himself, God the Son, so she is the Mother of God. And, that is important. It means that Christ was born of a woman. Part of the mystery and glory of the Incarnation is the very fact that God deigns to not only become human, but to be completely human, even to the point of being born of a woman. Thus in Christ, God takes humanity fully into himself. And through Christ, and our faith in him, St. Paul tells us in Galatians today, that we are then made to be children, and heirs, to God (By a strange turnaround, Paul seems to be telling us that the Incarnation goes both ways. God takes on humanity, humanity is then “adopted” by divinity, through God’s grace and our faith in Christ. How is that for Gospel?).
Of course, there is the big question, which many of us have asked in our lifetime, especially during the Christmas season. The question which we may ponder in our hearts.
Why Mary? Why not a queen or someone of importance? She is a simple girl. And I do mean girl. She was probably between 14 and 16 years of age. She was from a small village, Nazareth. She probably had no formal education. She was loosely descended from the royal line of David. David was her grandfather 28 generations up the line. And, Mary, like David, is descended from Ruth (the Book of Ruth). But, a very minor branch of the royal line.
She is not a likely candidate for such a gift, to be the bearer of the promised sprout from the “Stump of Jesse,” David’s father. A bearer of one of the royal line, a Messiah of David’s blood, let alone, the Son of God himself. But, her great gift, was faith. That is why she was chosen, we are told, because of the greatness and depth of her faith in God.
As we read the Gospel accounts, she never really understood what was happening to her, or to her divine son. Often she was lost or confused, but always, she had faith and believed in what God had promised her. When the shepherds came on Christmas night, and tell her what the angels had told them, she “pondered these things in her heart.” Not really understanding. Later, when Jesus is teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth, and causing a bit of an uproar, she goes with her other children to retrieve him. Jesus said that all who believe are his family. She did not understand. As Jesus is crucified, she stands at the foot of the cross, also in pain, for this son who she did not understand (Mel Gibson portrayed that part of Mary perfectly in his movie of the Passion). It is from the cross, that Jesus, almost as a last human act, places her in the care of the Apostle John, in whose house she lives for the rest of her days, and dies an old woman (on August 15th, as I said above, by tradition).
In many ways, Mary is like any other woman of her place and age. Except for faith! Upon hearing that she is to give birth to the Messiah, she responds with the words of the Magnificat, the Gospel lesson today. No greater, nor more inspired words have ever been uttered, and these, coming from this young woman, this young woman of faith.
But, she is of a kind to whom God calls. God grants to those who have faith, the things of faith. The gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, through whom we have the forgiveness of our sins, everlasting salvation, and eternal life. All of this, we too, do not understand, but like Mary, his mother, we are chosen by our faith alone.