Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Mary, Mary

There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I've seen her image all over the world, in cafés in Istanbul, on students' backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, but I don't think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, and I don't think it has to do with social revolution. Images of Mary remind us of God's favor. Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.
                                                              Nadia Bolz-Weber

Who does God say that we are?
That we are people, much like Mary, who are carriers of God, pregnant with the sacred,
and ready
to Birth God

Ready to be the place where heaven touches earth

Yes, Mary’s role was singular, and yes, she birthed God in a unique and special way
But in those words, which she spoke to Elizabeth
Her story become our story

“My soul magnifies the Lord”

Those words, may say it all.
“My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Magnifies implies make bigger, make greater, enlarge --an image that Mary's burgeoning pregnancy with the messiah certainly makes fitting.  Perhaps it is better to say that to magnify is to make something more easily seen.

“My soul magnifies the Lord,” means that through Mary the Sacred became, more visible,
more concrete.  Mary made God more easily seen.  She brought us Jesus, who was the Sacred in our midst. 

I believe that one of the things that Mary is intended to teach us, is that we too are to be souls who magnify the Lord.  That we too are meant to be people through whom the Sacred becomes real.  People who make it so that others can see God more clearly.

If the Bible is a reliable witness, God works through the ordinary, the common, to become present in the world.

It is not through amazing, brilliant, outstanding people that God works
It is through me and through you,
through the way we choose to live our lives and practice our faith, that God makes Sacred Presence felt in this world.

Each one of us, through our words and our actions, through all that we do, magnifies God. We magnify God’s being with our own bodies. We magnify God’s action with our own practices. We magnify God’s word with our words in the world.  We magnify God’s love with our love.

Of course we must be clear.  This is not, ultimately, about us.  God is the one who acts.

What we do is take God’s love and give it hands and feet and hearts and minds. We collaborate with God in the divine actions of lifting up of the lowly, feeding the hungry.
This is “our job”, as those who would follow the Christ

So a good question to meditate on in the remaining time before Christmas might be: how do I magnify the Lord?  How can I, magnify the Lord?

It is through human beings, through human flesh, this fragile and easily broken substance that salvation happens. It is through us that God works. It is through us that God is magnified.

All it takes is willingness

I love the way Madeline L’Engle puts it in the poem, After the Annunciation

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.

None of this makes sense
Especially not the idea that we can make God present
That WE can make God present

With all of our problems and failings
All our doubts and fears


Our participation in this miracle
For it is a miracle
Is not logical

Perhaps God should have had better judgement

But God chose us
And all God asks of us
As illogical as it seems
Is what he asked of Mary

All God asks for is our “yes”

But when we say yes
heaven touches earth

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