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The Paradox of Blessedness

The Paradox of Blessedness

Lk 1:39-55, Heb 10:5-10, Mic 5:2-5a

teenaged Mary

teenaged Mary

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 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 and 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

Sunday 23rd December 2012  7.30am &  9.30am Lismore

The Paradox of Blessedness Lk 1:39-55, Heb 10:5-10, Mic 5:2-5a

Micah 5:2-5a      The Ruler from Bethlehem

2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.  4And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; 5and he shall be the one of peace. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers.

Hebrews 10:5-10

 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 1:39-55        Mary Visits Elizabeth

39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

Mary’s Song of Praise

46And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.’