Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mary, full of grace

Just finished tonight a five week book study about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Reed (last name only comes to mind) the author, is an Anglican priest who teaches in a School of Theology in Canada.

What was remarkable about the time together is how diverse our groups thoughts, beliefs, feelings, reflections about Mary were.

A couple of former Roman Catholics (I sometimes call Episcopalians who grew up RC "recovering Roman Catholics, like the Episcopal Church is a spiritual AA group, but I won't this time) a former Eastern Orthodox, a few life-long Episcopalians and several main-line Protestants (like me) who found the Episcopal Church in adulthood--it made for an interesting group and some discussion worth pondering long and hard.

Mary is such an enigma, in many senses.

Graced by God and then made a slave to God and then her heart was broken and filled to overflowing by the child she birthed.

Each gospel handles her differently, which makes it difficult to get a clear picture.

She is the absolute star of Luke's early chapters. And then disappears until she loses Jesus in the Temple (every mother's nightmare) and can't get in to see him because of the crowds and he doesn't come out to her.

She's always by the cross.

In John's gospel (never called by name!) she is at the first miracle--water to wine--which Jesus seems to do just because he's a good Jewish son and his mother asked him to. And at the cross Jesus gives her to his disciple John--'behold your son....behold your mother'. But she shows up nowhere else in that gospel.

Most Protestant Christians think of Mary as 'merely Jesus' mother', not much else.

Catholics and some Anglicans adore her.

(I was with the vestry of St. John's at a retreat at Holy Cross Monastery, an Episcopal Benedictine group of brothers in upstate New York, when after Vespers, the monks went to an Icon of Mary and began to say the rosary. The guy I was sitting next to, who grew up Congregational and married into the Episcopal Church, said, aloud, "Oh, my God!" And I replied to him, "No, His Mother...."

Something worth pondering this last week of Lent and into Holy Week, is how does Mary figure into your Spirituality. And how might that change as you ponder it.

An illiterate, teenage, first century Jewish girl who meets an Angel and become, literally, the Mother of God.

Reflect on that for a time.

Well worth the reflection and the time....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.