Is it time for a "Hail Mary?
I was raised in an Irish Catholic home back in the 1950ís. It was not unusual for all the girls in a Catholic home to have the name Mary, either as their first name or as their middle name. My motherís name was Mary and my only sister was named Mary Joan. This practice reflected a devotion to the Mother of Jesus.
I now do not believe much of what I was taught in religion class about Mary. For instance, the Catholic faith teaches that Mary was conceived without sin. This dogma is referred to as, "The Immaculate Conception." The thinking went like this. Jesus was sinless, so His mother had to be sinless. It was also taught that she never died, but rather was "assumed" into heaven. This is referred to as "The Assumption."
Those things having been said, I have to admit that the Protestant church, in an effort to respond to such extra Biblical teachings, has failed to properly recognize and emphasize the fact that Mary is perhaps the best example of servanthood and faith in the entire Bible.
Most scholars believe that Mary was a teenager when the angel Gabriel came to announce that she was the one who would conceive and bear a child who would save the world. She was told, in essence, that her obedience and willingness to cooperate with Godís plan was the key to His plan for the universe. Oh and by the way, she was also told that she would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit, something that had never happened in the history of Godís creation. Not only could she not see how that could be possible, she was also putting her life on the line. Being found to be pregnant during a period of betrothal was a crime punishable by stoning.
Years ago in a championship football game, the Pittsburgh Steelersí Franco Harris, made a spectacular catch of a last ditch pass that resulted in the Steelersí win. He kept his eyes on the ball as it was bobbled by defenders bent on intercepting the pass. In their excitement, the announcers and the sports writers dubbed his achievement, "The Immaculate Reception." The quarterbackís improbable pass became known as a "Hail Mary." The whole thing was unexpected and improbable and has become a byword for a seemingly impossible outcome to a hopeless situation.
This Motherís Day, 2008, I have entitled my message, "Is it time for a "Hail Mary?" I am grateful for the Marys in my life. Make sure you honor yours.
Pastor Jim (aka "Maryís son")
Copyright 2008 by Jim Jenkins. All rights reserved.