Mary, Mother of Christ Resurrected

I am amazingly drawn to the life of Mary, mother of Christ. Popular culture paints her as a young woman to whom nothing extraordinary happened. She was young, naive and simple…until the day the angel Gabriel appeared to her.  Until then, we imagine, she had lived a quiet life in Nazareth, doing the things all other girls did. No mention of her immediate family, parents or siblings. But, when this angel showed up, she doesn’t seem afraid of him. Luke describes her as “troubled” and although Gabriel asked her not to “be afraid”, Luke seems to imply that she simply wondered what was up with this?! Luke 1:29 “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

According to the Nativity Gospel of Mary, extraordinary circumstances surrounded this young woman’s life long before this angelic visit and long before she herself was conceived.  Her father, Joachim, was greatly troubled at his barrenness. The high priest at that time belittled him saying he was unworthy of presenting his gifts before God because God had not seen fit to bless him with offspring. Joachim wandered into the pastures of the shepherds to hide himself in his sorrow. While he was there, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and assured him that he would indeed have a child. God had seen fit to “open the womb” of his wife, not to just give them children, but to bring glory to Himself. Sound familiar? This angel then appeared to Anna, his wife, and told her that she would bear a child, name her Mary and that this child would find favor with God. She would be a special child in the temple of the Lord.

According to this writing, Joseph was also called divinely to be the “root of Jesse” through which our Lord Jesus Christ would be born.  It seems that both Mary and Joseph were somewhat accustomed to divine intervention.

When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he filled her “chamber” with “great light.”  [Chap 9, vs. 3] “And the virgin, who was already well acquainted with angelic faces, and was not unused to the light from heaven, was neither terrified by the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only perplexed by his words; and she began to consider of what nature a salutation so unusual could be, or what it could portend, or what end it could have. ”

It seems to me that God would be mighty picky about the vessel in which his son would be nurtured. If God was to take the form of man and be born of a woman, a virgin, He would likely have groomed her from the moment she was conceived. I imagine Mary must have become quite used to angels checking in on her now and then, and, dare I say…she may have conversed on a more intimate level with YHWH who would ultimately become her son? It seems so fantastic and supernatural…yet she accepts it with such grace as though she always knew it would happen this way.

Christ loved his mother like no other person on earth…as I hope my children love me. As he hung crucified, he beseeched John to love her and asked her to take John as her son. Watching out for both of them as he left them behind. Unbearable heartache enjoined with unending love as the skies opened and God himself took on the pain and sin of the world in complete and utter surrender to love…while this woman who loved Him in all imaginable ways looked on. Her heart must have been bursting and breaking and flying high to be entwined with the unimaginable healing power of grace.

The Nativity Gospel of Mary as a historical account of events was likely handed down orally from generation to generation…much like our own family histories today. It does nothing to diminish the deity of Christ, rather delves into the history of his mother and I read it as a love note on her behalf.  Frederica Matthewes-Green has this wonderful essay on Mary that discusses writings pertaining to the Virgin Mary.  Many of us are afraid of her…we don’t want to fall too deeply into what some fear would be a worship of Mary on par with a worship of Christ…but I think it’s worth looking at this woman as a integral part of the life of Jesus Christ on a deeper level than just that of the birth mother.  Did she live her life waiting for her son to give of his? How much did she know or understand? I wonder, too, how much time Jesus spent with his mother after his resurrection…how could he stay away; how could she?

An amazing woman, to be sure…and one that I am desperately anxious to meet some day.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leon
    Apr 09, 2007 @ 10:27:10

    Somhow my comment on this post went to your previous post instead. sorry.

    Leon

    Reply

  2. divinescribble
    Apr 09, 2007 @ 17:30:56

    Leon,

    Thanks for the responses…even if they ended up in the wrong place!

    In my reading, it appears that Joseph may have been somewhat older than we picture him to be as well. With the divine nature of Jesus’s birth and the events surrounding his life, it would seem that other children of their union would have been unlikely. I know Scriptures mention other children, but the terminology, as you pointed out, was probably different than ours today in the use of the word “brother” and extended families were often incorporated under one umbrella.

    Interesting thoughts…thanks again. So…when do you start blogging?

    Aud

    Reply

  3. Grits n' Grace
    Apr 09, 2007 @ 18:10:42

    Very thoughtful post. I love Mary. What a strong woman and mother she must have been. I know this isn’t the direction your post was headed, but I can’t think of Mary without thinking of her standing beneath the cross while Jesus was dying. I can only imagine how Mary felt when Jesus is hanging on the cross, looks at her and says, “Woman, here is your son.” How horrified and helpless she must have felt. When our kids hurt, we hurt. Mary was surely no different. Witnessing the humiliation, torture, beatings and crucifixion of her son must have been unbearable. I cannot fathom watching one of my children going through something like that.

    Blessings,
    David.

    Reply

  4. sue
    Apr 11, 2007 @ 15:55:38

    I also believe Mary was only mother to Jesus. If she had other children why did she go to live with John?

    Reply

  5. Leon
    Apr 12, 2007 @ 11:08:43

    Aud.

    Blogging? Me? Well maybe…I have thought of it. Most of my thoughts are so long I wonder if blogging is the way to go. I am writing a piece right now that I’ll send to you when it is finished. I would love your ideas on it.

    Leon

    Reply

  6. Linda
    Apr 21, 2007 @ 22:26:40

    I needed to read this right now, as coping with the cruelty and malice in this world can only be bearable if one looks at the way Jesus bore the same persecutions as we do today, and more.

    We are called to love our parents and our children in the same way as Mary and her Son loved each other. Their resposibility toward each other is overwhelming as is their empathy for each other.

    I can only understand the depth as I experience this bond between myself and my children. This understanding makes me understand the humanity and the spiritual commitment of Mary.

    I cannot understand that she is not given the honour due to her by the Protestant churches.

    Reply

  7. ~m2~
    Apr 25, 2007 @ 12:01:08

    **we don’t want to fall too deeply into what the Roman Catholic church seems to have developed as a worship of Mary on par with a worship of Christ…**

    not *all* Roman Catholics worship Mary, even though i have to agree with you 🙂

    (i am one that does not, but i am also a convert so that may have something to do with it…)

    peace.

    Reply

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