Mothers’ Union Great Budworth Deanery Festival 2014 – Sermon 239
Mothers’ Union Great Budworth Deanery Festival
2.00pm, St Matthews, Stretton.
25th March 2014
Bible References :
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Prayer to Start
May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ
What makes for sensational news?
Someone from the UK winning a multi-million pound prize on European Millions?
Finding evidence of the Big Bang?
A group of stars doing a selfi?
If you ask a newspaper editor – he’ll probably tell you anything to do with sex, royalty and religion or a combination of all three
So what about the story of Gabriel visiting Mary with the child to be born being a future king of the World?
Would that hit the headlines?
For Mary of course- it was a wonderful moment
One that – after the initial shock – would cause her to celebrate and burst into song.
Point 1 Mary and the Angel
Most of us would have said that a girl so young and inexperienced – couldn’t possibly have known her own mind –
but as Luke shows us – after an initial protest – and questioning of the Angel – as to how such a promise to her can possibly come true – Mary accepts what is said – and says “Yes” –
still – confused – and perhaps wondering why she had been chosen – she measures what was being asked- of her – not against her own resources – but against God’s – and offers herself – as the bearer of God’s Son –
Mary will bring God’s only Son into the world –
and help to establish His kingdom not only in her own heart – but in the hearts of all those that come to know Him and love Him –
For Mary that moment of celebration was the joy of knowing that she was to give birth to a child – that would be the Saviour of mankind –
And if like Mary we’d lived in a culture where rhythm and beat mattered – it would be the most natural thing in the world to start singing – and dancing and clapping our hands in joy and excitement –
Point 2 Song of God and His Works
Mary composed and sang what has become one of the most famous songs in Christianity – the Magnificat – named because that is the first word in Latin
We’ve said it already within our service –
It’s been whispered in Monasteries – chanted in Cathedrals – recited and sung in Churches – and set to music with kettledrums and trumpets – by Johan Sebastian Bach –
It’s the Gospel before the Gospel –
A bright shout of triumph thirty weeks before Bethlehem – and thirty years before Calvary and Easter –
Mary composed her song after visiting her relative – Elizabeth who was also expecting a child – and through her song – they shared their dream – that one day all – that the prophets had said – would come true –
that one day Israel’s God would do what He had said – to Israel’s earliest ancestors – that all nations would be blessed through Abraham’s family –
that the powers that had kept the world in slavery would eventually be toppled – that God would win a victory over the bullies – the power brokers – and the forces of evil –
Like so many Jews of their time Mary soaked herself in the psalms and scriptures which spoke of mercy – hope – fulfillment – and rescue –
Almost every word is a biblical quotation that she would have heard or known since childhood –
Much of it echoes the song of Hannah in the book of Samuel – and all that God was going to do through him.
There would be many condemning and disgusted voices not least from her immediate family – wanting her to keep things quiet.
But it was a song she thought was worth singing – she’d received an unexpected gift – and undeserved present – from God Himself – and her joy was overwhelming –
A young mother was expecting her second child –
and she did all she could to prepare her three year old son for the arrival of the new sibling.
The new baby was going to be a girl – and night after night- day after day – her son Michael would sing to the new baby in his mummy’s tummy.
In time the labour pains came – and she went into hospital to have her child. After a long struggle – Michael’s little sister was born – but she was in very serious condition –
She was rushed off to the intensive care unit – and the pediatrician had to tell her and her husband – that there was very little hope and to be prepared for the worst-
The little girl grew worst – and the mother started to make preparations for her funeral – rather than her arrival home –
Michael however – kept on begging his parents to let him see his little sister – ‘I want to sing to her ‘ he said. But she knew that children weren’t allowed in to the Intensive care unit –
Eventually the mother made up her mind to take Michael – and to smuggle him in –
Michael was spotted – but despite the objections from the nursing staff – she brought him to his sister’s bedside – and he started to sing – in the pure hearted voice of a 3 year old – [‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey ….’ ]
Instantly the girl seems to respond – and her pulse rate began to calm. And the mother with tears in her eyes – encouraged him to keep on singing – and she joined in
The next day the little girl was well enough to go home – the papers called it ‘the miracle of a Brother’s song’ – the nursing staff just called it a miracle – the mother called it a miracle of God’s love
Like Mary’s song – the boy’s song was – one that needed to be heard –
point 3 Our response to God’s gifts
God has taken the initiative and put in motion events that will transform the world forever –
Through Mary- an unknown Jewish girl – from a small village – God will share the life of the world as a human being – as her Son – and God will be seen in a new light –
As Jesus – God’s love will be demonstrated through action and word – He will fulfill all the promises made in the Scriptures – and His Spirit will reach into the hearts of everyone –
Jesus will buy freedom for all – and through the spilling of His blood on the cross – defeat evil forever –
Like Mary – we too – are called to respond – to God’s presence within us – to rejoice at God’s victory and undeserved gift to us – to celebrate our God given freedom and new inheritance in God’s Kingdom –
Listen to these words from Hilary Faith Jones:
Amazing how the news spread –
her friends giggled and whispered and were drawn away from her by their mothers
The boys made rude gestures – people muttered about teenage pregnancies –
but unmarried – pregnant and just past her fourteenth birthday – she stood in front of those condemning people and held her head high-
She sang from the depths of her soul a most exquisite song of God –
Some laughed and walked away
some were shocked and disgusted
some stayed and reveled in the gossip
and some just sat – and wondered
but one or two were transfixed –
for it seemed a glorious moment – as if she was showing them something ‘so free and magnificent’
that their worn down souls were set on fire.
Have we been set on fire by Jesus’ presence in us today?
Have we got a song worth singing about God?
About the difference the MU can make in our parishes and communities and across the world?
Like Mary let’s sing that song out loud and with Joy –
And in God’s eyes that really would be sensational