“Higher Things” Reflection for July 22

 

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. John 20:18

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Mary was the first person to see Jesus alive after He had died. She had seen Him on the cross, bleeding, dying, dead. She had seen the tomb where He was laid. She had gone to give His body a proper anointing once the Sabbath was over. Can you imagine her grief? Her surprise? Her joy?

St. Mark records that after His resurrection Jesus first appeared to Mary, out of whom He had driven seven demons. Mary had once been under the awful influence and control of Satan and Jesus had rescued her. By showing Himself to her on the day He rose from the dead, Mary learns that her rescue from the devil and death are really true!

Mary is the reminder that Jesus conquers all our enemies. She, like us, was in bondage to sin and death and Jesus set her free. He set her free, not only because He speaks His Word, but also because His is the Word of the One who died and rose, defeating the devil and conquering death. Mary Magdalene on Easter is the picture of Christ’s promise and the example of our hope that Jesus truly has defeated all of our enemies.

Many silly legends and false stories have arisen about Mary Magdalene. But the truth is the Lord granted to her the wonderful gift of seeing Him alive after He had been dead. She was the first witness of the resurrection. That a woman should see such a detail would seem a preposterous idea in that day and culture and so her witness of Christ’s being alive is all the more sure because it isn’t the sort of detail you can make up. And Mary thus serves as a picture of all Christians, part of the church, the Bride of Christ who, by the witness and testimony of Mary and others who saw Jesus, believe that He lives and the victory is won.

Now Mary is to find Christ in the church, just as we are. No hanging on to Jesus at the tomb but now, in His church, we cling to Jesus in the waters of our baptism, His Word and body and blood. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection. Heal us from all infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son’s unending life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Festival of St. Mary Magdalene)

via Higher Things : July 22, 2012 – St. Mary Magdalene.

 

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“Feast of the Visitation, A Time for Celebration”

As you prepare to celebrate on Wednesday …

42 and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?

44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

Luke 1:42-45

For the 236th time Americans will celebrate Independence Day. Patriots from Maine to California will fire up barbecue grills and ice down beer in anticipation of the evening’s fireworks. It is the perfect end to a perfect day.

Traditional celebrations sometimes lose their mystique over time. The more frequently we experience holidays, the less they have to offer. After all, how much fun can a celebration be after 236 repetitions? Plenty!

That’s right. No matter how many times Americans celebrate Independence Day, it continues to bring ‘oohs and aahs’ with the explosion of multicolored fireworks in the July night sky.

Reading one more time about the prenatal encounter between John and Jesus is one of those celebrations that simply does not grow old. It is an encounter filled with ‘oohs and aahs.’

John’s prenatal celebration begins with a leap in the womb. Elizabeth shares her joy, and proclaims the reason for her happiness. It is not that she is with child; rather, it is that Mary is with “the Child.” She bears the Savior of the world.

Salvation is at hand, even among us. Coming in the flesh is forgiveness, hope, and eternal life. What joy there is for sinners! Jesus is near; He is among us and in His life, suffering, and death there is the promise of eternal life.

Washed in the waters of baptism and renewed in the Eucharistic meal sinners find hope. No matter how many times one receives the gift of life at the altar; it never grows old. It continues to fill the sinners’ response with ‘oohs and aahs’ of thanksgivingfor God’s continued grace and mercy. Amen.

via Feast of the Visitation, A Time for Celebration.

“Higher Things” Reflection for July 2

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. (Luke 1:46-47)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Magnify. Make bigger. More Lord, less Mary. You’d think if anyone ever had reason to be proud or boastful it would be Mary. “Look at me! I believed! Now I’m going to be God’s mother!’ There’s a whole lot of what passes for Christianity like that: Sure, we talk about God but the big deal is really me!

Mary truly is blessed among women. She, alone in all the world, has been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. She carries in her womb the Son of the Highest and David’s Son. And she has no idea what’s in store: the scorn and mockery and suffering her Son will undergo. She sings for joy today but will one day stand before the cross watching her Son give His life.

Mary’s words in the Magnificat (the name of her song, from the first words, “My soul magnifies) confess God her Savior. Yes, even Mary needs a Savior. There, in her womb, is her Savior. It’s a mystery beyond explaining. But it’s a mystery that can be sung about and Mary does so, giving testimony to the Lord keeping His promises by what He is accomplishing through her.

Mary is special because she is the Mother of God. Yet the time will come when the Lord will “leave His mother” (Genesis 2:24) and be united to His bride, the church, born from His side in water and blood. And Mary will be a part of that church. A child of God, even as Jesus is her child.

Mary and Elizabeth rejoice, not because of Mary, but because of the Lord keeping His promises. And that’s why we celebrate the Visitation, too, because the Lord keeps His promises for all of us. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

My soul now magnifies the Lord; My spirit leaps for joy in Him. He keeps me in His kind regard, And I am blest for time to come. (LSB 934:1)

via Higher Things : July 2, 2012 – The Visitation.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus

From the Holy Gospel of Luke.

 1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.  Joy to the world! Merry Christmas!

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