Monday, May 11, 2009

Misunderstood Mary

Misunderstood Mary

Luke 2:19, 21 – 24, 33 – 35, 39 – 40



Mary is commonly misunderstood in two extremes.  There are those who pray to Mary, essentially committing idolatry.  There are those who ignore Mary, essentially living in ignorance.


Mary is important to the Bible, the life of Jesus, and us in that she demonstrates a woman who is faithful and normal.


We know very about Mary compared to Paul, Peter, Moses, King David… What we do know gives us a clear picture of a faithful woman who followed the example of mother’s that we think of as being ordinary.  She didn’t invent it, she followed her culture’s custom.


I.          Mother’s treasure memories. [Luke 2:19]


            A.        There seems to be something about mothers that remember.


                        1.         A treasure is something that is precious.


a.         Want to get on the bad side of a mother?  Say something bad about her child.


b.         Mom’s tend to believe the best about their children, dream big dreams for them, hope for what is beyond reasonable.  THEY BELIEVE IN THEIR CHILDREN.


                        2.         A treasure is something that is carefully guarded.


                                    a.         If you see a bear cub… (run like the wind) the mother bear will be near by.


                                    b.         Mom’s tend to have a protective mechanism built into them. 


            B.         There seems to be a very thoughtful side to remembering.


                        1.         Ponder – “thought about them often” (NLT)


                                    a.         Ever keep something special from the childhood days?


                                    b.         Ever just like to sit and remember the good memories?


                        2.         Hopes and dreams come with being a mother…


                                    a.         What we do as children can thrill or disappoint our moms.


(Ill. Once I did something I shouldn’t have.  Dad was not around, so mom handled the discipline.  She pointed out what I did was wrong and why (I’ve long forgotten the action).  I braced myself for my punishment… guess what my mom did?  She prayed for me.  Frankly, at that moment, I’d rather have a whipping.)


b.         When our children fail, Mom’s take the brunt of the negative emotions.


(Ill. I’ve had more than one mom tell me she was a failure (sometimes in tear) because of the actions of her children.)


***** I doubt any of us have a full understanding what we have done to our moms.  The burdens and the pains she silent carried. *****


II.        Mother’s faithfully tend religious tradition.  [Luke 2:21 – 24]


            A.        We all need a foundation.


                        1.         Our homes define us.


a.         Family traditions are what makes memories, sets boundaries, establishes roles, create habits.


b.         Traditions tie is to each other and anchor us to something more than just ourselves.


c.         Traditions establish patterns to do something constructive in handling stressful, chaotic, and painful times.


                        2.         Our past defines us, everyone has a past.


a.         Our past is believed to be the biggest predictor of the future.  (Without grace)


b.         Some of us have strong religious foundations, others not so much…


B.         Mary and Joseph were careful to keep the letter of the Old Testament Law.


1.         Circumcision on the eighth day was required as a covenant between God and Israel.  (In the Christian tradition, it is infant baptism/dedication)


                        2.         The baby was named “Jesus” as directed by God.


                        3.         Purification rights were observed for 40 days.


                        4.         The dedication sacrifice redeeming the first born was made.


Problem: American culture believes the individual controls their own destiny.  We blame people who are not in a position to do so… like single moms.  We brag when it seems we do control our own destiny.  Fact is people are making choices about us and for us everywhere, all the time.  Very few people completely control their own destiny.


***** Never underestimate the choices our parents have made for us.  If you had a Mom who promised you to God, celebrate!  *****


III.       Mom’s realize amazement and pain.  [Luke 2:33 – 35]


            A.        Every child’s potential is amazing.


                        1.         Sometimes only a mother will believe it (joke).


                        2.         A baby is a new beginning filled with potential and dreams.


a.         Mary had a different perspective because she had the angel announce what was going on… and having a child as a virgin…


b.         Still, what Mom does not have high hopes and expectations for her child?



            B.        Every child’s pain is absorbed by Mom.


“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” [Proverbs 10:1]


                        1.         Dad’s celebrate by distance themselves under pressure or pain.


                        2.         Mom’s absorb things personally.


IV.       Mom’s are necessary for ordinary development. [Luke 2:39 – 40]


(Ill. It is sad that the “joke” in our society is that there is no such thing as normal.)


            A.        Mary (with Joseph) provided a stable and normal home for Jesus.


1.         This must have been hard because Jesus would have been seen as the illegitimate child.  (Jesus was reminded of this by his home town…)


                        2.         It’s hard for us to imaging Jesus as living an ordinary life.


a.         Here’s the thing: if you are dependent on the spectacular experience for an emotional high or confirmation of truth, then you are in serious trouble.


b.         God can and usually speaks in the “still small voice.”  In the ordinary, there is a special joy that is not subject to circumstances.


            B.        Jesus grew up in an ordinary way.


                        1.         He was physically dependent, as any child…


                                    a.         Jesus grew up healthy and strong.


                                    b.         Parents must help their children (provide food, love, etc…)


                        2.         He learned “common sense.”


                                    a.         Wisdom (the practical application of knowledge)


b.         God’s favor (basic spiritual teachings that are also modeled).



Modern perspective of motherhood from young mothers:


“Being a mum is such a uniting force, it is the ultimate common ground. It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your current or previous career was, what your income, where you live or what your life choices are – once you’re a mum we are all inherently the same. … It is why you can take a group of strangers and put them in a mothers group and find they will all chat happily for hours on end and go on to form life long bonds….


Our hearts burst and break at the same moments, the same things frustrate and infuriate us, we all crave a moment to ourself but wouldn’t change being a mum for all the alone time in the world. And we all miss using the bathroom on our own!!

…But because being a mum has made me braver, less worried about what people think, more likely to take a chance. And not just because once you have given birth nothing is ever as scary again!  … But because my perspective has changed. If I fail at something now, what do I really lose? As long as my child is happy and healthy everything else seems secondary. Which is kind of freeing and fantastic. It means I can risk more and be less afraid of the consequences. But only in an emotional sense of course, when it comes to actual physical risk I have gone the opposite way. I would never take a risk that could take me away from my child, so in that way I’ve become more afraid and cautious. 

…Motherhood certainly teaches you patience, but does that translate to other areas of your life or is it only with your kids? I know my patience doesn’t always extend to my husband!!”  [Amy Dry]




“…For me, a significant part of Mother’s Day is celebrating my own mother by remembering the lessons she taught me; by reminiscing about being the wonderful woman she was; by reflecting on her capacity to love unconditionally and to face adversity head on; by marveling at her ability to have raised five children almost single-handedly and doing such a bloody good job of it. Mum made mothering look so easy that it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I discovered how difficult and relentless it could be. …


It’s true that we don’t appreciate the enormity and selflessness of mothering until we become mothers. Almost every new mother I know has proclaimed a new found respect for her own mother. And rightly so. As women it may not be until we ourselves become mothers that we really understand the significance of our own mothers and the importance of the small sacrifices they made almost daily to ensure our happiness. And perhaps, most of all that’s what Mother’s Day is all about - paying tribute to all women, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to being the very best mothers they can be.”  [Ghania Dib]



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