You Fight like a Girl…Pondering Mary’s Words of Revolution
2 Samuel 7:1-16, Psalm 89, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:39-56
Sunday December 24, 2017 – The 4th Sunday of Advent – LOVE
Knox-Metropolitan United Church – Regina, SK – Treaty 4 Territory
Charlee, today you were baptised.
It happened about 15 minutes ago, give or take, but at this moment, I imagine, that the world might not feel too much different than it did before.
I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you won’t remember a lot about today, but chances are someone will have gotten a good picture of the whole thing, and since Facebook won’t be around forever, hopefully someone will print you a copy.
We’d only met briefly before this morning, you and I, but I can say with a reasonable level of certainty that the folks who brought you here, are extraordinarily excited about who you are you and who you are becoming – and that is most certainly worth celebrating, by all of us.
I don’t know how much of the Scripture readings that you took in, but since these were the readings on the day you were baptized, I figured it might be worthwhile you and me to chat a wee bit about them…hopefully there’ll be something of interest to all the adults here too.
Charlee, I am not sure how much time you’ll spend around the church throughout your life, but I need to apologize in advance, as a historical movement, Christianity that is, we’ve not always done well in offering young girls in our midst heroes to look up to.
Now as the dad of two pretty great girls myself, I think this is a not insignificant problem, and we’re working on it – and it just so happens, that we read about a pretty amazing girl, or young woman, this morning.
We read a story about a young woman, named Mary, and she is asked to do something incredibly hard, but also incredibly important, and she needed to be oh so brave, which we sometimes forget when we tell her story.
For almost 2000 when her story has been told, people focus on her being gentle and mild, and the church sort of began telling girls, to be like that too. Now there’s nothing wrong with being gentle and mild in and of themsleves, but in Mary’s case, we’ve almost made her passive, like she had nothing to say herself, just a silent character in Christmas Pageants, waiting for Joseph to put her on a donkey for a trip to Bethlehem.
For generations, Mary’s astonishing story has descended into theological and biological debates – so much ink has been used defining what could or could not have happened within her body that often we’ve missed how powerful a mover she herself was – and what magnificat insight she brings to the tradition…
Mary realized that her life has the power to magnify God in this world —and I think that if she were here today, she’d suggest that this is true of all of us. That while something of God might be physically growing within her, that this is a picture of each one of us.
Out of our ordinariness, amazing things emerge —things that will bring wholeness and healing, freedom and justice.x
The story will go that people will not believe her about what is happening, and so begins a long tradition within the tradition of not taking seriously the word of young people, especially young women, but Mary will not keep silent, and I hope you won’t either, when you see the truth in the world around, when you speak the truth that is within you.
Mary will call out the powerful —she knew that she lived in a time when some people had more than they needed while others starved, she knew she lived in a time when people had power that they used for their own good instead of the good of all, and she spoke powerful truth into that moment.
Years later when her child kicked a whole bunch of people out of the temple for taking advantage of others, someone likely thought, “Oh that Jesus, he gets it from his mama!”
Mary knew that God would be found among those in the greatest need, and it was their circumstances that she lifted up, she knew compassion and mercy, and she believed that she, as young as she was, could change things for the better!
Then in our story she goes and seeks out her cousin Elizabeth, and when they see each other the children within them seem to leap with joy —which again, I think is a great picture.
It’s like a namaste moment – that of the divine in me sees that of the divine in you.
Charlee, I hope you will find Elizabeths in your life. People who will see you, who will believe that within you are words and acts to change the world.
Bethel Lee is a pretty smart woman herself, and in speaking about the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth she once said:
“As liberating as it might feel to assert that no one influences who I except for me. It’s just not true. How we speak to people, how we treat them, how we see them, can either diminish who they are or it can usher them more fully into who they were meant to be…”
See Below for Quote Reference…
And so Charlee…on this the day of your baptism, we see you.
We don’t know exactly what you’ll do, but we believe that whether it looks big or small, that there is courage and blessing within, and we pray it will find its way into this world though you —may Mary’s life inspire you, and may it inspire all of us.
So like Mary, whose story we read today…
May you have the courage to believe in that which is with you.
May you own your truth and not be limited by what others say.
May you see the plight of those in this world whose need is the greatest, and direct your attention towards them, and may you have the audacity to believe that this world even its beauty does not have to remain how it is.
May you find your Elizabeths, those who will share your truth, who will see you and speak back to you of your best self, and may you do the same to others.
Because Charlee, Mary whose story we read today is not just a passive background in someone else’s story, even if generations of adults have tried to treat her like she was.
May her revolutionary and brave spirit be within you, and within all of us.
For in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us and we are not alone.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Quote from…The Rev. Bethel Lee (Yoga Chapel) Do you See What I See? Dec. 18, 2017 – The Mini Chapel Podcast