By Rev. Klemet Preus
August 15 is the Feast of St. Mary the mother of our Lord. Now I know that at Glory of Christ in Plymouth, Minnesota, my congregation, we tend not to observe the saints days even when they fall on Sunday and August 15 is a Friday so, ostensibly, it has little significance for us. But maybe we should think about Mary in the middle of the summer. I can think of at least three reasons.
First, summer is a time in which we need an interruption. You kind of put things on auto-drive during the summer, especially at church. You are building up for the autumn and the beginning of the fall programs. You are kind of half working, at least many are. Imagine Mary, just moving along in auto-drive. She does her thing. She works at her chores. Every day is the same. And boom. She is interrupted with some wonderful and fearful news. She will be the mother of our Lord. Her life is changed. All of sudden she encounters grace. Maybe during our busy or humdrum summers when things are moving slowly we need an interruption from God. We need to be reminded of that one thing that still is most important. A savior has come to us.
Of course the change is worked through the word. “And the angel said.” So that’s a second important lesson we learn from Mary. She listened to God’s word. OK it was an angel and maybe this messenger was a bit more attention getting than most. But when all is said and done it was not the messenger which is memorable in the story but the message. Jesus will be born. He will rule over the house of his father David. He is eternal as is his rule. He is the Son of the Most High. I have to believe that when Mary was recounting the story to her grandchildren (We assume of course that these were born to the sons of Joseph and were the step sons of Mary. The last thing we need is another discussion on the perpetual virginity of Mary) that she was much more excited about the actual words of the angel than the angel himself. Well, your pastor is an angel – the word angel means messenger – and you are much more interested in his words than in him, we trust. So trusting the word is a good thing to remember during the summer when there are so many temptations to neglect the word of God.
Third, Mary’s song, among other things, teaches us humility. And that is something especially to remember during the summer. We rush to our cabins. We go to the lakes. We scurry off to our vacations. All this is fine – but fleeting. He puts down the mighty from their seats. He exalts those of low decree. That’s the real message of Mary. The lowliness of Mary is passed on to her Son. He was lowly as he went to the cross and humbly bowed his head to the Father’s will. This good news of great joy is not reserved for Christmas. It is something that we need even when the links tempt us on Sunday or the trip to the beach requires, we think, that we skip church. The humble message is really more important than the treasures of this life. And Mary teaches us that.
So take a couple of minutes on August 15 and think of Mary the mother of our Lord. She was happily interrupted with grace. She listened to the Word. And she shows us the importance of trusting humbly in her gracious God.
Happy feast of St. Marry the mother of our Lord.