Forever December 21, 2014

126 Pakistani children killed by the Taliban. 1 million babies aborted each year in the United States of America. Food tainted with petro-chemicals and artificial flavors and preservatives. Companies unwilling to pay a respectful wage to their employees. Elected officials becoming multi-millionaires because of their positions of power. Children being abused and killed by their mother’s boyfriends not liking to hear crying babies. Christians not allowed to speak about their faith because it may offend someone. Two police officers shot dead in cold blood.

No, not much has changed in this world since the time of Mary. During her lifetime one country, Rome, ruled the known world around the Mediterranean Sea. The people of God were subject to Roman law. They were taxed beyond their ability to do anything but survive. People in positions of power made sure that no one else lived like they did. Even after Jesus’ birth, Herod had children killed because he did not want anyone to gain the power he had.

The one thing that has changed is that we have hope that all of the corruption will end. We have the hope in this person we call Jesus Christ. We have the hope that God is going to make things right. Yes, the Jews had this hope. It is made clear to us that Jesus is that hope. And he forever makes things right. That is what Mary heard about and for what she praised God.

A. Mary heard about a hope (Luke 1:26-38)
+++1. Gabriel visited Mary in Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy
+++2. Mary was betrothed to Joseph, yet they had not consummated their marriage
+++3. Gabriel told Mary much
++++++a. The Lord was with Mary
++++++b. Don’t be afraid, you have found favor with God
++++++c. You will conceive and have a son named Jesus
++++++d. He will be called Son of the Most High
++++++e. Jesus will have David’s throne, forever – a kingdom that lasts without end
++++++f. Even if Mary had not had sex, God was going to do this, if she consented
+++4. Mary responded well
++++++a. Here I am (she presented herself to God)
++++++b. Let it happen!
+++5. What a hope that Mary heard! She was going to be made pregnant by God’s Spirit and power. The most wonderful part is not how she got pregnant, it is who her child was going to be. Her son would be called the “Son of God”! With all that her people had been through over the centuries, David’s throne and the house of Jacob would have a king once again. What was a young teen girl to do?

B. Mary praised God for this hope (Luke 1:47-55)
+++1. She magnified the Lord (brought attention to God)
+++2. She realizes the enormity of the situation & what God had done for her
+++3. She pays attention to the fact that God has mercy for those who fear/turn to God
+++4. She tells how God acts
++++++a. Scatters the proud (who needs scattered today?)
++++++b. Brings down the powerful (who abuses their power today?)
++++++c. Lifts the lowly (who has been oppressed today?)
++++++d. Fills the hungry (who is hungry today?)
++++++e. Sends the rich away empty (who has taken reward for themselves today?)
++++++f. He acts because God remembers his mercy & his people of faith
+++5. Mary said a whole lot in these few verses. She is describing how God’s reign works. There is a level of humility, a realization of life, which Mary recognizes. And we celebrate Jesus’ birth by decorating our houses and giving presents? Is that what the birth of the Son of God means to us? Maybe we need not give presents. Maybe we confront the proud with the hurt that they have caused in this world. Maybe we tell the people in power that they cannot abuse their power. Maybe we make sure the oppressed are no longer oppressed. Maybe we continually give food to those who cannot get enough food. Maybe we give our riches away. Maybe we seek God’s mercy. If Mary could praise God at the time of her pregnancy, then might we also praise God when we are pregnant with desire for the Son of God to rule even in the Twin Counties, in Virginia, even in America?

Jesus is going to be ruling forever. That is what Mary heard. That is what we need to hear today. So Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.” So let us say, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

Then we can praise God as we participate with God in this world. Where God is giving his mercy, we give our mercy. Where God is scattering the proud, we are scattering the proud. Where God is bringing down the powerful, we are bringing down the powerful. Where God is lifting up the lowly, we are lifting up the lowly. Where God is feeding the hungry, we are feeding the hungry. Where God is sending the rich away empty, we are emptying ourselves. Where God is remembering the faithful, like Abraham, we are remaining faithful to God like Abraham, and Mary.

Jesus is the Son of God, forever. May we be found to be his servants, forever.

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