Rediscovering Mary

Picture Mary the Mother of Jesus. Do you see the nicely put
together figure of a nativity crèche? Do you hear the words
being sung, “Gentle Mary laid her child”? The images and words we often use to
describe Mary are filled with sentimentality, but bear little resemblance to the Mary
of Scripture.

As we prepare to welcome Christ into the world and renew our commitment to the
Way of Jesus, we need to reopen the Gospel story and discover again who Mary really
is. Mary is not a docile figure passively giving over her womb to God. Instead, she is a
young woman who demonstrates courageous faithfulness to God and willingness to
speak out and act out for God’s justice and the undoing of the powers that shape her

Scott McKnight writes: “Mary is not a ‘nice’ girl. If ‘nice’ means meek and mild and
mind-your-own business, then Mary was not nice. In fact, Mary scared ‘nice’ passive
girls because she was dangerously active. Instead of minding her own business, Mary
was minding Herod’s and Caesar Augustus’s.”

Why is it important to rediscover Mary’s story? Because her story models what is
required of each of us who commit ourselves to the Way of Jesus. At Christmas, we
greet God in human flesh—a God who shows up in the world to proclaim release to
all who are held captive and to set the oppressed free. Like Mary, if we are going to
welcome Jesus into our lives, we must have courageous faith, a commitment to social
justice, a zeal to proclaim the dangerous Gospel story, and a willingness to suffer as
we join Jesus at work in our world.

Join me throughout the Advent-Christmas season as we invite the Mary of the Gospels
to prepare us to greet the Savior of all the world. Advent-Christmas sermons will draw
from her words and her story. My hope is that we will learn from the one who was
first to commit her life to the Gospel story—one who continued to follow Jesus from
birth to cross and empty tomb.

Journeying Together,