This is my sermon from this past Sunday. I enjoyed sharing with my congregation both the Gospel and the good news.
Sermon Text: Luke 1:26-55
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Luke 1:46-47
Mary exclaims the words of the Magnificat and celebrates her own blessings but she does not stop there; she also is given a prophetic voice and speaks of the radical changes in God’s Kingdom: of the hungry being fed, the humble being exalted, the arrogant and rich scattered, and rulers being brought down from their thrones.
Her pregnancy as a young, unmarried woman could easily have been a place of shame and despair but instead, she realizes that she is bearing a child who is holy. She is a young woman in First Century Israel, but she is well versed in the teachings of her Jewish religion. She knows the story of the prophets, and the promise of return from exile and delivery from oppression.
See, when Mary showed up on Elizabeth’s threshold, it wasn’t like she had sent a letter about the angel Gabriel appearing to her. Elizabeth had no reason to suspect that Mary was pregnant at all, let alone with the Messiah.
For six months Elizabeth had suffered as an old woman from pregnancy sickness and nausea, felt her belly grow and her feet swell, but, a few months into her pregnancy, she hadn’t felt the baby move. I wonder if she was fearing a stillbirth. She couldn’t go get an ultrasound, she didn’t have any other proof that the baby inside was healthy and so had been hoping against hope that this child she was bearing would be born healthy and whole.
When Mary called out to Elizabeth, John leaped inside her womb. Finally, her baby had quickened and was there, present and healthy. Elizabeth knew that something special was going on with Mary as well. There was something new and different with her little cousin.
Indeed, Mary was pregnant, and I would have loved to hear that conversation between the two of them, Elizabeth telling how Zechariah came home unable to speak, but he still wrote to Elizabeth an account of what had happened to him. That this child she would bear was to be named John, and that he would be a prophet, set aside for holy work, and prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.
And then there was the story Mary had to tell, about the angel Gabriel appearing to her, and how she indeed was to bear a child named Jesus, and that he would be the Son of the Most High, the Son of God.
These are both two very big stories, and as we witness them, hear the promise re-told, we are invited to participate in the stories ourselves.
See, we may not be bearing any Sons of God anytime soon, but we do bear the image and likeness of Christ. We are called to bear the image of God’s Son in the world, to share the Living Word with the people around us, to deliver the message of salvation, hope, peace, and the coming of the Kingdom of God with those around us.
And y’all, I have a sign of hope I would like to share with you.
We’ve been waiting, we’ve been praying, and finally John and I are going to have a baby. We are expecting our first child in July. We are ecstatic. and our family is thrilled as well.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.
Now, I’m not bearing the baby Jesus in my womb, but I have been tasked with the privilege of bearing another life into the world.
In a way, this is what we are all called to do. We are called to bear the life of Jesus into the world. We bear the Word of God within us, and we are called to deliver it to the world.
May our hearts be filled with joy in the same way that both Elizabeth and Mary’s were. And may we be led to share this glorious news with everyone around us, in the same way that new parents cannot wait to tell the world that they are having a child.