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Dressed and Ready (4): For a Family

. 3 min read

2014/12/21
Christ Church, Mountain Top, Advent 4
Message,
2 Samuel 7.1-11, 16; Luke 1.26-38 (39-55)
Opening
theme:
Shopping
for a dresser, while Robin was in early labor with Jesse
Children:
David
and the Ark – house and tent
House
– family – father-son
Message
body:
Juno, tender and witty 2007 film, “cautionary
whale”
“Diana”
gave up her baby for adoption, purse (with only pics) stolen
“Faith
and Julia” trying to start a family, but IVF didn’t work
      Adopted … and discovered, at the same
time, that Faith was pregnant
Baby’s
rock your world. No matter how well you prepare, you are going to be surprised.
And, an “irregular” situation? All the more so.
We
underestimate how “irregular” Mary’s story is. Overnight, she goes from being
perceived as the “good girl” to a “bad girl”, in a culture in which women generally
had limited cultural value, no economic power, and could be subjected to abuse
and even death. And, an unwed mother had little protection in the society,
certainly much less than unwed moms experience today. No wonder she spent her
first trimester out of town with Aunt Elizabeth. Yet, she says, “Here I am, the
servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (1.38).
Irregular, and obedient.

“I
will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me” (2Sam 7.14)
      God adopts David’s line right out from
under David
      No longer the “house of David” or the
“house of Windsor” but the “house of God”
      God gives us a family, not necessarily in
the way we expect
      God makes us a house, and it is NOT the
building – it is more mobile than the ancient tent. It’s you and me, and it is
wherever we go.
      An irregular God, to say the least.
David
is asked to father a “house” that is adopted out from under him. Mary is asked
to mother a child that is, in many ways, NOT hers.
      The dilemma of parenting – learning that
they are NOT ours.
      Much more extreme for Mary, much more
irregular.
Yet,
she says, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to
your word”
“Her
whole state became one of trembling when God, whom the whole of creation does
not contain, placed his whole Self inside her … and made himself a man.”
Peter
Chrysologus, Sermon 140, ACCS, Luke, NT
III
, p 14-15 (5th cent)
Mary
bears Jesus into the world so that Jesus may be borne in each of us
      In an irregular manner
      For irregular people
It
is rock-your-world nonsense, rock-your-world good news
He
has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he
has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty (Luke
1:52-53).
God’s
ambition in this holy mystery is to rock our world, to make of us one family, a
family of irregulars. “So that [Christ] might be the firstborn among many” (Ro
8.29), so that the house of God may be built in every land and place, so that
the lowly may be lifted up and the hungry filled.
Mary
becomes for us a question and an invitation:
Will
we welcome the “God, whom the whole of creation does not contain” to place
God’s “whole Self inside” us?
Blessing: Romans 16:25-27 
Now to God who is
able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for
long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made
known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to
bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God, through Jesus
Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
Resources:

Arthur
A. Just, editor. 2003. Ancient Christian Commentary
on Scripture, Luke, (NT vol III).
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.