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The Bulletin Insert Sunday 3rd April,2016 The Paradox of Blessedness

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert   Sunday 3rd April 2016

 

 

The Paradox of Blessedness Lk 1: 26-38, Heb 10: 4-10, Isa 7: 10-14

We often think of being blessed as being in a state of happiness where everything goes well and we are rich beyond measure. The reality is often very different.

The story of the teenaged Mary [Luke 1:39-55] who supernaturally learned that she would soon become the mother of our Lord Jesus is often read as if Mary simply accepted her shocking news without question or concern.

Given the social pressures and prevailing attitudes of the times, would she have been so blithely accepting?

And what of Joseph? Would the shame and the gossip of their tight-knit community have challenged this young couple as they prepared to embark on a life together?

To Mary was granted the blessedness of becoming the mother of the Son of God, yet that very blessedness would later be a sword to pierce her heart. This great privilege meant that some day she would fall, overwhelmed with grief, at the foot of a Roman cross on which her son hung in agony till his death.

To be chosen by God so often means at one and the same time a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. The piercing truth is that God doesn’t choose us for ease or comfort or selfish joy – rather for a task that will demand everything of us.

God chooses us in order to use us for his purpose. And we must trust that God equips us for the task. When we accept this, the hardships of surrendering to such sacrificial service become reasons to praise God because our suffering is never in vain.

Jesus came, not to make life easy, but to make us great.

 

 

 

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

 

Isa 7: 10-14   Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

 

Hebrews 10: 4-10

4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God” (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’ 8When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

Luke 1: 26-38   NRSV

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.