“Spirit” is the Greek word, πνεΰμά, which Martin Luther accurately refers to as “the highest and noblest part of us”.  It is that part of us which, in communion with God, is able to comprehend the divine and eternal things God shares with us.  Our spirit receives all the salvation, fellowship, and truth God offers and, in turn, soars to God in heaven carrying our prayers, our praise, and our thanksgiving.  Our spirit is truly enlightened and empowered by The Holy Spirit.

But wait — what is the theme of Mary’s hymn of praise?  What has caused this wonderful hymn of praise to burst forth so spontaneously from her soul and spirit? She says “...my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour"

Mary is not glorifying God or rejoicing over God’s Grace for anything which God has done for her which God has not done for all of us as well.   Mary is glorifying God and rejoicing over the eternal salvation God will give to all of us through Mary's Baby. Mary’s spirit rejoices in God her Saviour and our Saviour. Mary offers us the first Christian hymn in celebration of the Gift of Eternal Salvation which God has prepared for all people.

Her specific joy for herself lies in the fact that God has chosen to accept her offer of servanthood. She says "… for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden ...”

Twice in this first chapter of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE, Mary describes herself as “the handmaid of the Lord.” A δούλης is a person who is “totally subject to a master” and who “gives up herself or himself totally to the will of another person”.  The handmaid of the Lord submits to God in all things.

Is there any other way to approach the Lord Who is God Almighty, the King of kings, the Lord of lords than with a desire to worship God and to serve Him in all things?   As Mary joyously proclaimed God regards the low estate of his δούληςand gives His δούλης the inheritance of His Kingdom.

Joyfully she prayed: “For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for He Who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.”

To be called blessed is to be μακάριοι from which we get English words like charisma and charismatic.   μακάριοι means to be gifted by God in ways which enable you not only to enjoy the divine gifts in your own life, but also, by the Grace of God, to be a gift to others as well.

Through no effort or earning of favor on her part, Mary found favor with God (LUKE 1:30) and was called to be the mother of God’s Own Son.  That Son Mary carried and nurtured is the ultimate Gift God has given His people. All generations call Mary blessed because of the wonderful way God gifted her and, through her, gifted the entire human race.

"And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree ....” Mary takes no credit for what is totally a gift from God but rejoices over what has come to her from God Whose Name is holy — Who always lives up to Who He says He is and does what He promises to do.



Fourth Sunday In Advent

December 23, 2018

Dr. Kurt Borows Jr.

Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio

Bible Verse of the Day

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