Monday, December 6, 2010

Storyline: Mary, the Mother of Jesus #2

As we continue evaluating Mary’s healthy heart, I pray that you will be encouraged.  Mary was not someone special.  She was a woman of flesh and blood, just like you and me.  To acquire a healthy heart in the midst of difficult life circumstances is not always easy, but she reminds us that it is very possible!  Things were far from easy for her either!  The results of a healthy heart always lead us to the very purpose of our creation: to bring glory to God as we enjoy relationship with him.  There is no greater gift I could wish for you this Christmas season!  So, let’s dig in...  What more can we learn about Mary that we might begin practicing?

A Mary-Heart:
(is) Pensive – I love the way God’s Word expresses this truth, “And Mary pondered these things in her heart.”  There is no question that the road to a healthy heart is through reflection.  It’s the key to processing what is happening in our lives.  When we add Scripture to our ponderings, we’re able to find the way to the “treasure” that God has in store for us (this is but another translation of this Greek word, synterreo). As we learn to meditate on what is happening in our lives, in connection with the TRUTH, God releases spiritual treasure for us to mine and guard closely.  It always leads us to deeper intimacy with our heavenly Father, and deeper intimacy is what all of us long for (Proverbs 19:22).

(is) Prayerful – One doesn’t burst out in prayer the way Mary did during her interchange with Elizabeth (what we term The Magnificat) on a moment’s notice.  No, Mary practiced prayer.  She was comfortable with being vulnerable and open with the Lord in the closet of her life, before she was able to pray publicly the way she did.  Obviously, the Holy Spirit guided her words, but I believe Mary was reared on the words of her relative David, who also knew how to pray.  “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.  Do not let me be put to shame (Ps 25:1-2).”  “Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles (Ps. 25:22).”  “To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place (Ps. 28:1-2).”

(is) Poor in Spirit – Sprinkled throughout the Matthew and Luke passages, Mary is referred to as “humble.”  Those who recognize their poverty of spirit are most richly filled and blessed.  Mary’s humility sparkled as a result of her confidence in God, and in who she was as a result of this identity- based theology.  Her humility led her to great courage...not an absence of fear, but an absence of self.  It’s one of the critical pieces of the puzzle that helped her let go of her son and submit to his sacrifice on her behalf, as well as ours...

(focuses on) People  Years ago, I remember reading a novel based on the lives of Joseph and Mary.  The story ended with the birth of Jesus.  The end of the book referred to Mary overlooking her son in the manger, which soon becomes over-shadowed by a cross...  The point was that from the beginning God showed the mother of our Savior that her son was born to die and his death meant the salvation of the world.  His birth and untimely death ushered in a new paradigm – a new covenant of grace.  Whether it was at that moment, or another, I don’t know, but I believe at some point Mary had to reconcile in her heart that her son was the answer to the world’s sin problem, and she surrendered to that plan.  Could I?  Don’t think so!  But that is the bottom line of proving Mary’s healthy heart.  All healthy hearts do not live self-focused; they sacrificially give for the benefit of others.  Healthy hearts are always others-focused!

May God remind you of these truths throughout this Christmas season – a season of giving selflessly to others as Christ gave for each of us!

May you all have a very Merry Christmas!
(no blogs will be posted until after the first of the year)