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Bursting with God-news!

November 27, 2012

The following is an upcoming article from the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church newsletter.

As we enter the season of Advent, the figure of Mary looms large in the biblical witness.  Our preparation for Christmas parallels her preparation to welcome Jesus.  A pivotal scene in Luke’s Gospel is the encounter between Mary and her kinswoman, Elizabeth (1:39-45).  Each woman was improbably pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John, later known as the Baptist.  When the women encounter each other, the child in Elizabeth’s womb jumps in recognition of his cousin and Lord.

Mary herself is infused by the Spirit, letting loose a song of praise (1:46-55) that we know as the Magnificat, from the Latin for “magnify.”  Her song begins, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” and continues with an amazing recitation of what God is doing in her life and what God will do through her Son.  Martin Luther writes of Mary’s song, “When the holy virgin experienced what great things God was working in her despite her insignificance, lowliness, poverty, and inferiority, the Holy Spirit taught her this deep insight and wisdom, that God is the kind of Lord who does nothing but exalt those of low degree and put down the mighty from their thrones, in short, break what is whole and make whole what is broken” (Luther’s Works, v. 21, p. 299).

The insight of Mary, inspired by the Spirit, is that God does his best work through the lowly and the small, in the midst of the broken and the hurting, by those that the world sees as unimportant.  After all, if God worked primarily through the whole and the healthy, how could we see God at work?  But when we see God working through a pregnant, teenage virgin, well, now that’s really something.  It might even make us realize that God can “make whole what is broken” through little, old you and me.

Here at St. Peter’s we’ve been getting bigger, both in terms of membership and facilities.  We’re always seeking to do more.  But at our heart we remain a congregation not unlike Mary.  We’re not that big, or wealthy, or important.  The good news is that we don’t have to be.  We are just who we need to be in order for God to use us!  Our first task is always to do what Mary does; we are called to magnify the Lord that Jesus might be known in our community and that God’s people might be served in Jesus’ name.  I like the way Eugene Peterson translates the beginning of Mary’s song in The Message: “I’m bursting with God-news.”  Bursting with God-news.  Inspired by the Spirit, that’s exactly what we are.

As we prepare for Christmas at St. Peter’s and in our own homes, may we be mindful that our primary task is not to be busy with tasks.  Instead, may we slow down and see the ways in which God is filling us – small, weak, insignificant us – to the point of bursting with the good news of the Son, who has come once and will come again.  God is going to do amazing things in and through the people of St. Peter’s this season and into the new year.  Because we’re so impressive and amazing, so wise and capable?  No.  God will work through us because God chooses to do so, and it’s just as likely (or more!) that he will work through our fear, our weakness, our brokenness as he brings healing and wholeness to this world and to our own lives.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Waiting with fullness,

Pastor Dave

From → Advent/Christmas

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