The View From 1776
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Are We the Lord’s Servants?
Do we heed His call? or put it on the back burner?
Sunday’s sermon at the Cohocton (New York) United Methodist Church was preached by Rev. Karin Porch. Her text was Luke 1:26-38:
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
With Christmas at hand, we rightly focus on the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But Luke’s Gospel highlights another important aspect of the advent of Christ: Mary’s readiness to accept the difficult circumstances God imposed upon her.
She faced potential social ostracism for becoming an unwed mother. She was about to give birth to King David’s successor, the Son of the Most High, who would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Mary was greatly troubled, but she nonetheless accepted her role.
How would any of us react to the sudden appearance of an angel at our side, announcing a transforming event that was about to come our way? In our age of secular materialism too many people would dismiss the whole matter as an hallucination. They would demand a scientific, material cause-and-effect explanation. Assuredly, they would not react, as did Mary, by responding, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Thirty years later, Jesus in his active ministry was to say to his disciples, “Follow me.”
That’s one of the hardest things for us to do. Let celebration of Christmas redouble our resolve to witness for Jesus, to heed His commandment to go forth and preach the Gospel to the world.