Sermon: December 14, 2008

17 12 2008

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

                                                   

Luke 1:26-38

 

            You know, I will never forget 38 years in July.  Doris and I had just moved to Oakley, Kansas where I was to begin serving as the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran  Church.  I had just graduated from the seminary, and we had just moved to Oakley to begin a new chapter in our life.  But, you know, Doris hadn’t been feeling too good lately.  While we were gone on a trip for the month of June she had been complaining about not feeling well.  So when we got to Oakley, we found a doctor, made an appointment and went.  Turns out Doris was pregnant.  We were going to have a baby.  I was going to be a father.  I was a lot happy.  I was going to have a child.  I could start getting “Father’s Day Cards.”  But I was also a little bit scared.  What kind of father would I be?  Would I be a good father? 

           

Well, I can just imagine how Mary must have felt.  The angel Gabriel had just told her that she was going to be a mother.  She was pregnant.  She must have been really happy.  On the other hand, she was just a young girl, probably only about 15 years of age.  She wasn’t married.  Can  you imagine what people  would say?  A young girl – single – not married – pregnant.  What would her Mom and Dad say?  And if that wasn’t bad enough, you know, in those days there was a punishment for a single girl to be pregnant.  The punishment was stoning.  The punishment was death.  I am sure that all of that went through Mary’s mind.  The social stigma she would certainly face.  The death sentence that those in power might impose.

          

So what does Mary do?  She does what any reasonable in that situation would have done.  She questions the angel.

 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

Look, she is saying, this can be happening to me.  I am a virgin.  The angel responds – “Don’t worry.  God has got that covered.  The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

            Now here’s what gets to me in this story.  Mary’s response.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”

I mean here is this young girl.  She has just found out that she is pregnant – which I think would be scary enough without having to face all of the looks from family and friends – and then go ahead and add to that to the fear of the death penalty.  And then  for good measure through in the question as to how she – a single, young girl on her own – is going to take of this child and raise him.  The angel responds to all of that by saying, “Don’t worry.  God’s got it covered.”  And she responds by saying OK.  And that’s it.

What impresses me in this story is the faith of Mary.  Any normal person would have been scared about the future, but not Mary.  Any normal person would have had a thousand questions, but not Mary.  She simply says OK.  She puts her faith and trust in God.  She really and truly believes that God has got it covered and stops worrying about it.  She finds JOY.

Could we learn a lot from a girl like Mary.  We too face a lot of problems in our life.  Right now maybe you are out of work and you are wondering how are we going to handle things.  Or maybe you’re not out of work but with all of the people who are being laid off, maybe you’re next.  Last month half a million people lost their jobs in this country.  If I loose my job what will I do? 

            Maybe your question is health.  They just had me gone in for a round of tests.  I haven’t been feeling so good lately.  Maybe they will find something.  Maybe it is serious.  Then what will I do?

I worry about my family.  There are so many things going on with the kids – with my parents – I am at my wits end.  I am just running out of answers.

God’s response to us today is: “Don’t worry.  I got it covered.”

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This week in your home light the third candle on your Advent Wreath – THE CANDLE OF JOY.  God has got you life covered.  Have no fear little flock.

 

Amen!

 

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