A man reports walking across a bridge. He says, I saw a man standing on the edge of the bridge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" … "Why shouldn't I?" he said. … I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" … "Like what?" … "Well ... are you religious or atheist?" … "Religious." … "
Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?" … "Christian." … " Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" … "Protestant." … " Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" … "Baptist." … "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or of the Lord?" … "Baptist Baptist Church " … " Church of God. Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" … "Reformed Baptist " … " Church of God. Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?" … "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!" … To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.
Ever notice how much Christians have to argue over? From the dating of Easter to the proper liturgical color for the seasons, we will argue.. and if you want to get folks riled up on all sides all you need to do is mention the Blessed Virgin Mary… and that fight has been going on for a while now… The Roman Catholic tradition has always held her in high esteem…however.. except for the high churchmen of the Episcopal / Anglican church… she is politely forgotten…. The more Protestant churches during the Reformation basically demonized her… and during the 16th century statues of her were burned or hacked to pieces after they had been paraded through brothels.. but why? As Martin Luther stated… “Mary suckled God, rocked God to sleep and prepared broth for God to eat.”… but for the most part in the more modern times… she has been pushed aside… as one theologian put it … “we drag Mary out at Christmas and then pack her safely back in the crèche box for the rest of the year.”… However.. this church is a testament as to why that shouldn’t be so…
(Here I will walk the congregation through the various stained glass windowns in the church, as well as, other depictions of the BVM)
- The nativity and the visitation of the Magi
- At the dedication with Simeon and Anna
- Not biblical – Cousin Elizabeth / John / Jesus
- Present at first miracle
- Found Jesus in the temple
- Circle / sword will pierce your heart
- The crown – Queen – lilies
- Our Lady of perpetual help
- Our Lady of Guadalupe
- 4th Station – Jesus meets his mother
- 13th Station – Jesus is placed in mother’s arms
From these images and the related scriptures… it is very clear that Mary’s role and position is being elevated... I don’t press anyone into believing this.. but for me.. I have to ask the question, “If Mary appeared in the Gospels so much and was so significant to the life of Jesus.. then shouldn’t she also be important and significant to me as well?”
At the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified… scripture says that “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." … Many scholars agree that in saying to John… Here is your mother… that Jesus was speaking to us all… and declaring his mother to be the Mother for all believers...
I’m not silly enough to believe that we are all of the same opinion on the significance of the role of Mary… but I think that we can agree that we should not only be able to recognize in her something worth aspiring to… but we should also see her as one… who... like all the other saints… can assist us in our daily lives.
She is known as the Mother of God… Queen of Heaven… Bride of Christ… Mother of
Mercy… and She can assist us by interceding for us in our daily prayers and by standing beside us in our times of trial. She understands the sorrows of the world better than any… especially after having stood by the cross and experienced her own deep sorrow in witnessing the death of her son Jesus.
Today.. on this feast of the Mother of our Lord…the Blessed Virgin Mary… I encourage you to consider her as not only as an example to follow… but as the mother of us all… who is full of compassion and mercy… It is alright to speak to her and to call out to her as one of her children.. for in your deepest need… she will embrace you in the same manner that she embraced the very Son of God.
It was Mary who gave birth of Son of God.. and it is through the baptismal font that we are given a new birth in Him.. so let us begin to prepare our hearts with a song as we anticipate welcoming Paige into our family.