The Feast of St. Mary the Mother of Our Lord

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.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

The Feast of St. Mary the Mother of Our Lord — 5 Comments

  1. It is appropriate that we remember Mary, both in her role as theotokos, and as a model of faithfulness.

    However, it is important that when celebrating the feast of St. Mary, the mother of our Lord, on August 15, that we distinguish that celebration, and any associated adiaphora, from the celebrations of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Eastern Church and the Assumption of the Blesses Virgin Mary by the Roman Church, both of which include the false doctrine of Mary being taken up bodily into heaven at her death, as well as other mariolatrous doctrines.

  2. We’re in Lebanon for the summer and today is a national holiday. This morning church bells were a’ringin’! Of course we also live in a country with more churches per capita than the Bible belt so that makes for a lot of bells!

  3. both of which include the false doctrine of Mary being taken up bodily into heaven at her death

    Which is only a false doctrine when it is held to be a doctrine.

    I’m certain that is what you meant, but it was not indicated clearly by your words. ‘Dormition’ is merely ‘falling asleep’; this Mary did, falling asleep in her Son, whether she was assumed bodily like Enoch or her soul was received while her body was committed to God’s keeping in the earth until her Son’s return like the rest of us. When Luther calls this Mary’s ‘himmelfahrt’, it neither diminishes Christ’s bodily ascension, nor requires the Assumption as a matter of doctrine, but, having no evidence in Scripture, leaves it to be as of no real consequence other than to remember that her salvation was only by the blood of the Son of God, just like everyone else’s.

    EJG

  4. “Which is only a false doctrine when it is held to be a doctrine.

    “I’m certain that is what you meant, but it was not indicated clearly by your words.”

    It is clearly indicated by my words when they are not excerpted out of context:

    “…from the celebrations of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Eastern Church and the Assumption of the Blesses Virgin Mary by the Roman Church, both of which include the false doctrine of Mary being taken up bodily into heaven at her death, as well as other mariolatrous doctrines.”

    I am aware of what “dormition” means. But as I stated, both heterodox church bodies in their celebrations include the false doctrine of Mary’s bodily assumption.

  5. It is clearly indicated by my words when they are not excerpted out of context:

    When you write a post that has us ‘celebrating Mary’ without mention of her dormition, then condemns those two bodies who do reckon with it, it is not clear unless you actually clarify it.

    BTW, it is now a month that you have refused to answer the simple question:

    Is an episcopal system ‘allowable’ in the eyes of Walther and Vehse, or not? Do they consider Scripture to have established and/or mandated the system they proposed? Or are both forms of polity considered within the bounds of what Scripture and the Confessions would have or allow us to do? Or, if not, why do they say that congregations can choose either form?

    EJG

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