Today we mark Mary’s day. Mary the Mother of our Lord. As Anglicans, we tend to have an uneasy relationship with Mary; we are uncomfortable with deifying her or sentimentalising her, but as so often happens, in dismissing her and pushing her aside, we throw the baby out with the bathwater and forget her genuine contribution to our faith, and all that she can teach us.
There is very little information in Scripture to give us an actual historical portrait of her. Part of the problem is that we’ve buried her under so many layers of theology, piety, and politics, that she’s nearly impossible to excavate. Some Christians pray to her. Others ignore her on principle. Some call her a victim of divine coercion. For others, she is the ‘Theotokos’ or the God-bearer. For some, she represents a troubling model of pious femininity – ever sinless, ever virgin, ever mother. For still others, she is child prophet — a young girl who fearlessly announced the arrival of God’s kingdom to earth. Indeed, she is all these things. Today we will once again hear Mary’s words in the Magnificat. In this powerful song, Mary declares that through the birth of her child, God would bring about a moral, social and economic revolution. In her child, Jesus, God would begin a revolution of love that would spread to the very ends of the earth. Mary’s Magnificat is a song of joy, but it points directly to the cross and her Son’s passion.
Every Christian after her seeks to become in some small way a God-bearer, one whose ‘yes’ to God means that Christ is made alive in the world in our daily lives. In saying ‘yes’ to God, Mary had no idea, no clue what God would do, but she does it in faith, without seeing or knowing the outcome. Above all, for us here today, Mary is the first of the Saints, and the one with whom we bring our prayers to God.
In peace, Mother Lynda
Gospel Reading: Luke 2:1-7