Devotions for 13th December 2020 Advent 3
Welcome to these devotions for people who don’t have the internet, or are away, or who are interested anyhow. Last week our reading was Luke 1: 25-38- the angel Gabriel’s invitation to Mary to birth God’s Son (called the Annunciation). Today we’ll look more into who Mary was.
Dear God, within our Christian faith there are many views, traditions and practices that have encouraged, nourished and sustained people in so many different nations, cultures and circumstances. May taking this time in devotions here, encourage, nourish and sustain me in my life and faith. Help me not be narrow or closed, but may the Holy Spirit open me to more of the blessings you love to give your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen
As is our practice, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and their care of, and connection to the land, before Europeans came here. We pay our respects to their Elders, past present and emerging. We acknowledge our Second People’s benefit from their dispossession, our First People’s loss and disadvantage, and also their on-going culture and connection to the land. We cannot change the past, but we can help shape the future and so commit ourselves to reconciliation and justice as First and Second Peoples together.
Dear God, joining with others sharing this prayer-
You are the depth deeper than we can reach, the love stronger than we can hold in our hearts, the light brighter than we can squint at, but through Jesus Christ you gently, respectfully and lovingly seek us first to share and enrich our lives and bring true peace to our world. You shower your blessings on all people, and give inner strength in trying situations to those who are open to you. We sense you in the awe and wonder of nature; and give you praise. We also become aware of our smallness, and at-times, shallowness. As we approach Christmas with all its hype and pressure, and Jesus’ story gets hidden in the background, speak to us once again with the richness and power of its ordinariness and mystery.
We give thanks for Jesus; for his birth and life, his teaching and healings, his inclusiveness and courage, his death and resurrection. We claim the love, acceptance and forgiveness he promised. We give thanks for his disciples from the very beginning to those of our particular Christian community, filled with the Holy Spirit to tell and record and pass on the story. We give thanks for your Holy Spirit in our lives, bringing Jesus’ story to life in us and guiding us day by day.
And we give you thanks and praise for the so-many blessings we’ve been given . . . for all that’s enjoyable in life . . . . and for all that challenges us to grow . . . .
Hear the song on my heart. In the name of Christ. Amen
Below are some portrayals of Mary. Have a look at each one and think about not just whether you like them or not, but where they might connect with your life, or what they say to you about Mary, and through her- Jesus.
Here are some other passages from the gospels that involve Mary. For each one, ponder on what you think that passage reveals about her.
Luke 2: 41-52 The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41 Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual. 43 When the festival was over, they started back home, but the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. His parents did not know this; 44 they thought that he was with the group, so they travelled a whole day and then started looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 They did not find him, so they went back to Jerusalem looking for him. 46 On the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his intelligent answers. 48 His parents were astonished when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.”
49 He answered them, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?” 50 But they did not understand his answer.
51 So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favour with God and people.
John 2: 1-9 The Wedding at Cana
2 Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine had given out, Jesus' mother said to him, “They are out of wine.”
4 “You must not tell me what to do,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
5 Jesus' mother then told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 The Jews have rules about ritual washing, and for this purpose six stone water jars were there, each one large enough to hold between twenty and thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill these jars with water.” They filled them to the brim, 8 and then he told them, “Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast.” They took him the water, 9 which now had turned into wine, and he tasted it.
54 [Jesus] went back to his hometown. He taught in the synagogue, and those who heard him were amazed. “Where did he get such wisdom?” they asked. “And what about his miracles? 55 Isn't he the carpenter's son? Isn't Mary his mother, and aren't James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56 Aren't all his sisters living here? Where did he get all this?”
Mark 3: 20-21, 31-35 Jesus' Mother and Brothers20 Then Jesus went home. Again such a large crowd gathered that Jesus and his disciples had no time to eat. 21 When his family heard about it, they set out to take charge of him, because people were saying, “He's gone mad!”
31 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside the house and sent in a message, asking for him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Jesus, and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, and they want you.”
33 Jesus answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 He looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does what God wants is my brother, my sister, my mother.”
John 20: 25-27
25 Standing close to Jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, “He is your son.”
Things I see in these are- that she was very human, vulnerable, part of a community, serious about her Jewish faith- making the trip to Jerusalem each year, yet amazingly restrained when they found him in the temple. She could be a bit bossy? She had expectations about Jesus, and in the ordinariness of their lives she hung on to the promises made at his conception. Having Jesus as her son caused her worry and great grief. I wonder how much her faith, her mothering and her teaching made Jesus who he became. What else did you notice?
Dear God, in the ordinariness, vulnerability and struggles of our lives as individuals, in families and communities, and in our concerns about the big issues of life and the world, we pray.
You loved the world so much you sent Jesus to save us.
If only everyone took up living his way we wouldn’t be in the mess and danger we’re in . . .
But you persist with your way of love, and when we sabotage ourselves, hurt each other, and damage the world, as a human race, and as individuals, you don’t abandon us, but restore us to new life. You are quietly working your revolution around to this world becoming what Jesus called ‘the Kingdom of God’
You are also concerned for the details of our individual lives.
In quiet we share our needs and concerns for ourselves and those we hold dear . . .
In quiet we grieve and share your pain for the suffering in our world. . .
In quiet we ask you to fill us with hope and joy for the vision of how the world could be as you want it . . .
As we get swamped by the consumer Christmas and things getting back to ‘normal’, help us keep perspective, to find quiet, to pray, to appreciate the simple and free gifts you give.
And we offer ourselves to do what we can, as you call and empower us . . .
In Jesus’ name. Amen
As Mary carried Jesus and that shaped her life,
may we carry Jesus and may he shape our life,
with interruption and disturbance,
that are overtaken with joy and peace and hope
because of the love we have found in connection with him.