What do you think about Mary? “Mary who?” many members of our congregation might ask. But not the Catholics in our pews. They know Mary! She’s their advocate, an omnipresent portrait on the walls of their childhood parochial schools, the saint who puts the “rose” in their rosary beads.
Medieval Catholics so elevated Mary as the Queen of Heaven, that it spurred a Protestant backlash in the Reformation. Reformers banished Mary from prayers and church art, and elevated, instead, the Cross of Jesus.
Is there a way between these two extremes of “Too hot!” and “Too cold!”? What might be “Just right!”? How about a Real Mary?
In the December issue of Christianity Today, an author reminds us that Jesus had a real mother: “Mary performs the mundane, often unnoticed but life-and-death important act of mothering. And she does so in the most dangerous of circumstances. While Joseph decides her fate, she carries this baby. While Herod schemes his death, she nurses him, changes him, feeds him, sings to him. She exercises her faith, to quote Tish Harrison Warren, in the liturgies of the ordinary, and therefore valorizes the countless women throughout time who have done the same.”
This Sunday we continue our sermon series, The Songs of Christmas, focusing on “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming.” That rose is Mary – a real woman.