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Confused about Mary? You’re not alone. Some have placed her on a pedestal, others have treated her with neglect, while the rest aren’t quite sure what to do with her. That makes her one of the most misunderstood characters in the Bible.
It’s understandable. After a starring role in the Christmas story, Mary makes just a few cameo appearances along the way. In response, some have rushed in and filled the gap with a confusing mixture of exaggerations and legend. While others, worried they’ll give her too much attention, have let her fade into the background.
Sure, some have taken things with Mary too far. But equally true is that others have not gone far enough. From now through the end of January, we’ll be looking at the life of Mary; not just the Christmas part we’re so familiar with, but her entire story. Along the way we’ll separate legend from fact and uncover the story of this remarkable woman and the extraordinary role she played in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Mary was a great example of faith and faithfulness. She carried Jesus to birth, then raised him. She heard him teach, watched him heal, and never doubted he could do the miraculous. She was fiercely loyal to Jesus all the way to the end. She never deserted him, even when Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him, and the rest fled and went into hiding. So she was there when he took his last breath, and again on Sunday morning when he rose from the dead.
But her most important legacy was her simple faith. Was Mary devout? Probably. Was she pure in heart? Sure. But that wasn’t the point.
You see, God didn’t chose her because she aced the Messiah Mommy ACT. Mary was convinced this great honor had come to her by the sheer grace of God. That is why, after the angel left, she sang not about how great she was, but how great was her God.
The same is true with us. God is still showing up, telling people everywhere, us included, “you are highly favored,” and inviting us to respond in faith.
John Sommerville - Senior Pastor
At the end of the Old Testament are twelve relatively short books that pack a punch. Sometimes called the Minor Prophets, these books are both harsh and hopeful.
Harsh because these twelve folks spoke up when they saw something wrong. And often what they saw made them mad. Called prophets, their main job was not, as many believe, to predict the future. Sometimes they did, and when their predictions came true it made people pay attention. But that was not their main job. Instead, their primary role was to speak to the people on God’s behalf. And speak they did; against the people’s idolatry, unrighteousness and injustice.
All this doom and gloom made them appear cranky. But what many don’t know is that they had a surprisingly hopeful vision of what is possible; the life we all want to live if we could only see it.
During a period of just under 400 years, they told the people to repent, change their ways, and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. But the people refused.
It must have been tempting to give up, but the prophets kept speaking up. The tragedy is, that for all their powerful rhetoric, the prophets were ignored, even shunned. That is until their warnings came true. While the cranky side of the prophets’ message gets much of the attention, it was the hope they pointed to that led people to preserve their important message. And that’s why we still have these books today.
During the months of July and August, we’ll be looking at five of these prophets. We’ll spend a week each on four – Habakkuk, Haggai, Joel, and Micah. Then in August, we’ll take an in-depth look at the surprisingly up-to-date perspective of a man named Amos. Whether in person or online, join us in the weeks to come as we look to these wise mentors to challenge and encourage us with an ancient message still relevant today. John Sommerville – Senior Pastor
The songs we sing form and shape our understanding of God. Tune in to hear a short podcast about 1 favorite worship song each week.