Tonight we observed St. Mary's Day, which actually fell last Saturday:
“From this day all generations will call me blessed.”
That is, not just cousin Elizabeth with her “blessed are you among women, blessed is the fruit of your womb, blessed she who has believed”, but all people will join in blessing the Mother of God.
How are you doing at blessing Mary? Lutherans are in little danger of falling into the excesses that have characterized her veneration across the centuries, but we’ve certainly fallen into the ditch on the other side. We’ve pretended she’s just like us.
Um, no. An angel pops in one day and tells you that you’re to become the Mother of God, and you believe it? No, she’s not like us that way at all. But there is hope that we might become like her. That when our God speaks to us His promises - no matter how wild and crazy they might seem, how impossible of fulfilment - we might come to be like Mary and bow meekly before the Words of God and say: “Let it be to me according to Your Word; what You say goes, Lord!”
For then the miracle that took place in her will also take place in us. The Word she heard engendered in her the Eternal Word of the Father, she became great with child, eternal life himself moved into her personally and filled her body with Himself. And through her He gave Himself to the world. From her He received the flesh and blood which He would offer as the sacrifice for the sins of a world gone wrong. For you and for me. From her He received the flesh and blood that was raised in incorruption on Easter and which the angels and saints forever adore in the unity of the Godhead.
When we become like Mary, when we by the grace of the Holy Spirit speak our “yes” to the promises of God and hold them tight, then into us comes Mary’s Son with all His divine life. And as He lives in us and we come to live in Him, He draws us into His sacrificial way of living so that we might come to be servants of one another as He has served us, and we do so in the joy and certainty that He has given us forgiveness for all our sins and the promise of the resurrection to a life that never ends. He gives us His body and blood that such outrageous, outlandish promises might be fulfilled in us.
And so we learn to call Mary blessed together with Elizabeth and all the Church. Blessed in the fruit of her womb. Blessed among women in alone being the Mother of the Son of God. Blessed above all in her faith and trust in God’s Word. And we pray God, though she is not much like us, that He would make us more like her, His blessed promise believing Mother, that He would increase our faith in all that He promises so that we might come finally to the joys of heaven and share with the most holy Virgin and all the angels and saints the blessedness that never ends. Amen.