As we move each day closer to the birth of Jesus think about what you can bring to him. This video is a wonderful example of that kind of thinking. Enjoy!
Today I want us to think about Mary’s answer to the angel. What if an angel appeared before you and asked you to do something that would shake you to the core and change your life forever? Would you hesitate? Would you wonder if the whole thing was not real? You would have to endure the disdain and censure of everyone you knew. You could end up being an outcast or stoned to death.
I am not sure what my answer would be. What would you do?
Luke 1:34-38, 46-55
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
I say that I seek you
But is that true?
I look for you
In the noise
Of mindless music
The television’s endless voice
I hunt for you
By being in charge
By filling each moment
By running away
When things are good
I don’t remember you
Or call for you
When I am lonely
I cry to you
No matter how
I ignore you
You will listen
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.
This morning I attended the Lutheran Church that I used to work for. These are the words of the confession that was used today. For me, they were moving and powerful. I hope you find meaning in them.
God of mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, against one another, and against the earth entrusted to our care. We are worried and distracted by many things, and we fail to love you above all else. We store up treasures for ourselves and turn away from our neighbors in need. Forgive us, that we may live in the freedom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be careful what you ask of God. There will be answers. It’s just that the answer may change everything.
The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” Georgia Harkness
It seems to me that more evil is done in the world in the name of religion than for any other reason. We automatically think of Islam and their fanatic suicide bombers. We tend to forget that Christianity has had its share of purges and killings. Too soon have we let the Inquisition fall from our memory. We become sure that we know what God wants and push our beliefs on everyone. Anyone who doesn’t agree is evil. This is not what Jesus taught.
Prayer: Lord God, there is so much hatred in the world. Help us to turn the face of love toward those who hate and teach them about your love. Amen
Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. Abraham Lincoln
We are good at going our own way. We plan without listening for God’s wisdom and then wonder what went wrong. Maybe we should listen first and act second. God may have a different plan.
Prayer: God of patience, you must grow tired of our strong-mindedness and willfulness. Help us to spend time with you in prayer and to be still and hear your voice. AMEN
Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. Frederick Buechner
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is something that keeps us asking questions. It makes us grow. The trouble is that doubt can be uncomfortable. Growth can be painful. Don’t be afraid to question but when you do know that the answers may change you.
Prayer: Infinite God, give us the courage to ask the hard questions and the wisdom to know the answers may not come in our lifetime. Help us to continue to grow in faith and knowledge of you. AMEN