The fourth week of Advent and, finally, we get Mary! It strikes me as a bit peculiar that the lectionary gives us one week of the apocalypse followed by two weeks of John the Baptist, and then finally we get to Mary. After all Mary is a key player in the Advent season, accepting God’s radical call to birth God into the world.
I suggest that Mary gets a bit of a bad rap all along the way, labeled as meek and mild, submissive and passive. Honestly. Would anyone who has ever said YES! to God ever consider that “yes” to be meek, mild, submissive, or passive? Indeed it takes someone with a fair amount of hutzpah to say “YES!” to God and then venture into the unknown. Mary is hardly meek and definitely not mild.
As for me, I plan to preach on Mary, and lift up her strength as a follower of God. True, not all of us will face the same level of challenge as Mary when following God, but no doubt each person who follows God is transformed, changed for ever. Admittedly this would have made for a better sermon last week when my parish celebrated the diaconal ordination of our seminarian and I preached on our many calls to ministry. Surely I can figure out how to make it work this week?
This week the Revised Common Lectionary gives us the Gospel of Luke with Mary and Elizabeth greeting one another, Mary pregnant with Jesus, and Elizabeth pregnant with John, who will be known as the Baptist. Following the greeting Mary sings what has become known as “The Magnificat” – her acknowledgment of how, following God, her life will then, magnify God.
Of course there is always the option of preaching on one of the other texts from the RCL for Advent 4, but I admit I haven’t thought about them. However you can find the RevGal discussion on those texts here.
Perhaps you are following the Narrative Lectionary and will preach on that text? For a lively discussion on the reading you can go here.
Regardless, this is the 11th Hour Preacher Party and we are here to figure this out together. What are you feeling called to say? What text speaks to you? What challenges you today? We’re here to help one another, share ideas, and pray for each other.
Pull up a chair, grab a mug, I have lots of hot coffee (or tea) and a freezer full of Christmas cookies to share.