Mary’s Part In Our Salvation – 12-23-12 – Advent IV – Cycle C

Listen to the sermon here:

Scripture: Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1 46b-55, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-55

[the words of Mark Lowry]
Mary, did you know, that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is Heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is The Great I Am.
[the words of Mark Lowry]

“Yes, I knew,” said Mary.

[from Luke 1:46-55 in The Message by Eugene Peterson]
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me; and look what happened –
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”
[from Luke 1:46-55 in The Message by Eugene Peterson]

“Yes,” said Mary. “I knew. I knew that my Son would continue the work of the Father on

Mary, did you know that your Son would need to die so that once for all, including yourself, we
would receive salvation?

“Yes,” said Mary. “I knew.”

So were you a single mother? Did you need to do this alone?

Mary answers, “I was doubly blessed. God provided Joseph and sent an angel to explain to
Joseph what was really happening to me.” “Joseph and I had great love for each other. Listen to
our conversation.”

[from the words of a German carol]
“Gentle Joseph, Joseph dear, stay with me, for the baby’s near;
God will surely your goodness hear, as you will love this newborn child,” says Mary.

“Gladly Mary, Mary mine, I will cradle the child divine;
Here will heaven and earth combine, for you will bear God’s child, O dearest Mary.”

Mary, you certainly were blessed. Was Joseph able to keep his promise about caring for your
baby Jesus?

Mary replied, “Do you know that God provided for Joseph to be parent for Jesus as I am parent
for Jesus.” So, yes, Joseph taught Jesus Joseph’s trade – carpentry. Joseph taught Jesus how to
use his hands for carpentry. All the while Joseph remembered that this was God whom Joseph
was training and loving. As Jesus grew, not only was it realized that he had a great mind and
wisdom, it was realized that his hands shall do even more – much more.

Mark wrote in 6:2, “What deeds of power are being done by his hands!”

[words from B.J. Hoff]
The Hands that made the world and gave the sun and moon their light
are the tiny Hands of a baby born one cold December night …
The Hands that stilled the wind and tamed the fury of the sea
are the calloused Hands of a carpenter who lived in poverty …
The Hands that held the power to break the binding chains of sin
are the gentle Hands that washed the feet of tired and dusty men …
The Hands that cleansed the leper, healed the blind and raised the dead
are the praying Hands of one who cried, “Not My will, but Thine instead…”
The Hands that shaped the universe and flung the stars in space
are the nail-pierced Hands of a dying man who suffered in our place …
The Hands of our Creator, Lord and King of Heaven above,
are the Savior’s Hands, forever reaching out to us with love.”
[words from B.J. Hoff]

Mary, as you washed those tiny little hands of this baby, as you watched the fingers grow, did
you realize what those hands would do in the short life Jesus lived on earth?

“No, I did not know everything those little hands would do as they became large and strong. I
watched the story unfold. Being a widow, I was free to travel, to follow this Son of mine who
was also claimed as Son in the Trinity. I saw with my own eyes and hearts the healings that
were miracles. I watched the multiplying of food.”

Mary, did you always understand what Jesus was saying? The gospels have some harsh words
coming from the mouth of Jesus. Did those words hurt you?

“Oh, my,” said Mary, “Oh my! Do you mean ‘Who are my mother and brothers?’ That was
a surprise but, when I thought about it, I realized that Jesus was simply explaining that first
he is the Son Person of God which means that all people on earth are his brothers and sisters.
We came upon him at a crucial time in his teaching. I was reminded rather abruptly that Jesus
belongs to the Trinity, which is God, and not to me, not to his brothers and sisters.”

Mary, how did you feel when you realized the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures were about
your giving birth to your Holy Son?

“Awesome! said Mary. “To think God had this plan!” However, it made me feel more humble,
not proud. I said ‘Yes’ to being part of a great, great plan while not having any idea how great. I
do know about the prophecies. The prophet Micah wrote one such passage.”

Yes, Mary, I read from Micah 5 in the Contemporary English Version. “Bethlehem Ephrathah,
you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your
people to rule the nation – someone whose family goes back to ancient times. The Lord will
abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel.

“Like a shepherd taking care of his sheep, this ruler will lead and care for his people by the
power and glorious name of the Lord his God. His people will live securely, and the whole earth
will know his true greatness, because he will bring peace.”

And then, Mary, in the inspired writings after your Son was restored to his heavenly place, a holy
writer wrote the book of Hebrews – like a comprehensive history of your Son’s life and purpose
including the base and backbone of this faith. In Hebrews 10:5-10, we have this powerful
writing (from the Contemporary English Version).

“When Christ came into the world, he said to God, ‘Sacrifices and offerings are not what you
want, but you have given me my body. No, you are not pleased with animal sacrifices and
offerings for sin. And so, my God, I have come to do what you want, as the Scriptures say.’ ”
And the writer of Hebrews adds, “So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered
himself once for all.”

The holy writer of Hebrews tells of this holiest of persons, Jesus Christ our Savior, being the
perfect sacrifice so that we may be holy people.

Mary, I have this picture in my mind of you and your Son, Jesus, being reunited in this place
called heaven. Awesome! Amen.


Mary’s Magnificat (Song of Praise) from the New Revised Standard Version

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant,
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
[from Luke 1:46-55]

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.