Love

A postcard from the Fourth Sunday of Advent 12/19/21

Advent Wreath, the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Heflin, AL

So why is Mary so favored?

Our Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and the Magnificat. [Lk. 1:39-55] The Visitation is the part-two of the Annunciation that happens in the verses before. [Lk. 1:26-38] The angel Gabriel calls Mary the “favored one” and Elizabeth calls her “blessed.”

Throughout our Christian tradition, Mary has been given favored status. At the Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary officially was given the title of Theotokos, the God-bearer. This title acknowledged Mary’s special status as the mother of Jesus, who was fully human and fully divine.

But Mary is not just theologically favored. Her image is in churches, icons, devotionals, and art. We Christians connect to the love, joy, and sorrow that is embodied in Mary. I also think we hoped to be favored by God too.

One of my favorite preachers and writers Nadia Bolz-Weber, reflecting on Mary’s favored status, share this yesterday:

I think that this is exactly what Mary understood: That what qualifies us for God’s grace isn’t our goodness – what qualifies us for God’s grace is nothing more than our need for God’s grace.… So, I won’t say that I hope this season is merry. I won’t say that I hope it is happy and bright. But I will say this: I hope you hear a divine “yes.” this season. In other words, may your soul feel its worth.

From The Corners, “And the soul felts its ___,” by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber.

A sermon from the Church of the Messiah in Heflin:

Principal text: Luke 1:39-55

Audio only available here

Here is the print I referenced in my sermon from Ben Wildflower, benwildflower.com.

Coming next

  • Dec. 24 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke @ 12 noon / Messiah, Heflin @ 4 pm – Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 26 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro – 1st Sunday after Christmas
  • Jan. 2 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke – 2nd Sunday after Christmas
  • Jan. 9 – Messiah, Heflin – 1st Sunday after the Epiphany

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