Mary - a person of praise.
Mary’s story (Luke 1:26-56) is one of the most well-known in the bible. A young girl in a small town ‘up north’ is met by an angel who tells her that she is going to give birth to the Son of God. She shares the news with her cousin Elizabeth, who is also blessed by the presence of the Lord’s Spirit within her. Mary responds with one of the most beautiful and majestic paeans of praise ever written.
Here are some thoughts on the story of Mary's meeting with the angel.
UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED: “highly favoured” (v28) – a greeting“Shalom, favoured lady! Adonai is with you.” Life, including church life, will reveal many of our insecurities, particularly for leaders, and especially those of us involved in worship. Our security should, and can be, that we are unconditionally loved by a compassionate and faithful God. This means we can know that, even if we struggle and sometimes fail in our ministry and walk with Jesus, he is still totally for us and accepting us.
REAL AND HONEST: “greatly troubled” (v29) – a reaction
“Do not be afraid” is a common message from God to his people. In a world that is forever shifting in moralities, spiritualities, authorities, etc., we can be tempted to retreat to a church that always does the same things, in the same way, and in the same time. We are so fearful of change! But the Holy Spirit will always bring change to a church where he is present.
FOCUSSED: “He will be great” (v32) – the purpose of it all is to reveal and proclaim JesusRecently, in a mission planning meeting, we were drawn to the phrase “Make the main thing the main thing”. Nothing could be more relevant when it comes to the worship-life of the church. It is so easy for other things to become our focus, e.g. the music, the instruments, the personnel. The message to Mary was about Jesus: He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. May he be the main thing in our worship, indeed in everything that happens in the church!
ENQUIRING: “How can this be?” (v34) – a good question, a thirst for more
We are supposed to use our minds, and grow in our understanding. An open bible should be a constant companion, both in our ministry and in our private life. Worshippers and worship leaders need to be taught and to grow in their knowledge of Jesus and the bible.
OPEN TO THE SPIRIT: “the power of the Most High” (v35) – the way it works!
The Old Testament prophet once wrote: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). This is the method, the way God works in his church. He doesn’t need musicians, music groups or choirs. Just see what he’s got in heaven! But he chooses to gift us with such ministries in order to serve and enable the church. But the most important, and ultimately the only essential, is that he is building his church in the power of the Spirit.
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May God richly bless you all as you worship Him this Christmas.