SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 Luke 1:36-38
GABRIEL AND MARY
MEDITATION: Christmas in September? It’s perplexing at first. I wonder why the UWorship lectionary for campus ministry starts out the school year with a text typically reserved for December sermons and Christmas pageants. I came up with two possible reasons for starting off the Luke series with Gabriel’s announcement: Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. First, UWorship is designed for campus-based communities of faith, so it gives students an opportunity to reflect together on a text they would otherwise miss if they stop meeting over Christmas break. Another good reason to begin a study of Luke with the story of Gabriel and Mary, is that it places the emphasis squarely on Jesus. What on earth (literally) is God up to in impregnating Mary and taking on humanness? (See, Philippians 2:5-11) We discover something about the nature of God in his choosing of Mary, in the humble circumstances of her barnyard labor and delivery, in the partners who were quietly aware of Jesus’ coming into the world to live like one of us. In Christ, God elevates humanity and the whole physical world to a grace-filled co-existence. Writer and theologian, Richard Rohr, says that rather than a top-down deity who rules with tyrannical power, “incarnational religion offers a God we can experience for ourselves and a God we can see—and must see—in everyone else.” (Richard Rohr, “Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality,” London, England: Ashford Colour Press, 2016, p. 121.)
FOR DISCUSSION: Where have you experienced God this past week? When you look for “incarnation” how does it change your perception of the people you meet in the course of a day?