Saturday, January 22, 2022

Rev Douglas Galbraith’s Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Advent – 19th December 2021.

December 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Weekly Reflection

This is the Sunday we traditionally remember Mary the mother of Jesus. What follows is not prose – like a short sermon or address – but a kind of meditation which we read through slowly and thoughtfully, allowing ourselves to slip into prayer. We can probably think of one or two stories in the gospels involving Mary, but not the whole seven. This takes each of these stories and helps us to reflect on them.

Opening Micah 5:3 (today’s OT reading)

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labour bears a son.

Saviour God, to the compassion of Mary, her fortitude and her grace
you entrusted the One who was to rescue humankind
from all that brings despair and destruction:
help is so to live that we witness to the reconciliation
promised in Christ our brother …

The Magnificat Luke 1:46-55 (today’s gospel reading)

As Mary sang in the joy of expectancy of birth,
full of hope for her life and the life of all humanity,
a new time coming when those with power will no longer dominate the rest:
we pray for those who wield power and those who are powerless;
may they come to recognise their need of each other.

The Bethlehem stable Luke 2:5-7

As Mary gave birth among strangers,
caring for her child far from the comfort of home:
so we pray for people displaced from country and kindred
who in adversity struggle to care for their children …

Fleeing Herod’s assassins Matthew 2:13f

In her fierce protection of the infant Christ
from those who would kill in the face of threat
to their influence, comfort, and power
Mary with Joseph had to flee their home:
we pray that those who daily have to live under threat of violence
may find strength to persevere …

Simeon’s welcome and prophecy Luke 2:33

As Mary with pride presented her young son at the temple,
made an offering and rejoiced in the generous words of Simeon:
may we not be slow to encourage and to praise the good
and recognise the potential in people rather than their faults.

Jesus at 12, the Passover at Jerusalem Luke 2:48f

Just as Mary saw the child she had nurtured in the ways of religion
speak with the priests with knowledge and confidence:
may we be mentors to each other, teaching through the way we live,
wise in our speech and upright in our conduct.

A hostile congregation Mark 6:3

As his mother suffered when in his home town
Jesus was scorned and rejected when he preached:
we pray for those who are undervalued and seen of no consequence
because of the way they look or do not show that they know their place.

Her support of Jesus at a wedding John 2:5

As Mary at the wedding in Cana
urged the guests to do her son’s bidding:
may we be advocates for those whom others distrust
and lift up our voice for those who are voiceless.

A seeming snub from her son Matthew 12:46f

As Mary felt her love rejected and her labour of no account
as Jesus placed discipleship higher than family loyalty:
save us from putting our nation, race, or culture before all else,
sewing conflict because of our fear of what we do not know.

Mary at the crucifixion John 19:25f

At the foot of the cross, Mary suffered cruelly with her child,
uncomprehending in her love and beyond comfort:
help those whose lives are broken by loss
and who cannot imagine a future without someone they love.

With the disciples after the Ascension Acts 1:14

In an upper room after Christ ascended to heaven,
Mary prayed with the other disciples and glimpsed the hope of the gospel:
grant us a like excitement and expectation as shared by the disciples,
that we may carry this constantly in our lives and on our lips.

Conclusion

We praise you, O God, for the witness of this woman of Nazareth
as near and far she accompanied her son in his life and ministry,
knowing pride and anguish, hope and sorrow:
may we, whatever life brings, grow likewise in love and in faith.

Grant that, like Mary, we may hear your word and keep it
and one day share with her the risen life of Christ your Son:
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

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