Wednesday, 18 April 2012
[This is reposted as part of our Best-Of Revelife Week. It was originally posted on November 25, 2011.]
My wife wrote this as a note on facebook. It was awesome and I thought I'd share it with you!
I've been thinking about lately about women's role in ministry. Seminary has opened up my understanding of scripture immensely and I've never felt so empowered for the gospel in my life.
Currently, I'm sitting in the office at my church printing advent devotionals. I know we're a little ways off from Christmas still, but I can't help sharing my thoughts about women in ministry in the context of Mary, the mother of Christ.
In the protestant church we really downplay Mary's role -- unlike the Roman Catholic Church, who I think exalts her too highly. When the angel of the Lord appeared to her, her response, known as the Magnificat, is this:
And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
This is such a powerful statement of the nature of God out of the soul of Mary.
Within her womb, the Savior was knit together. What a holy place! She cared for Christ as he developed inside of her. She ate the right foods, probably puked a few times, had swollen feet, and had crazy cravings. She endured a long journey to Bethlehem and eventually bore the child in pain and suffering.
Mary was a powerful woman, chosen by God to bear the Savior of the World.
Today, I still believe that woman are chosen to bear Christ to the world -- women who take care of themselves so they can preach the gospel globally, women who fast and pray as a spiritual discipline, women who prophecy as Mary did in the Magnificat, women who tirelessly work to help people understand the gospel and endure pain and suffering when those around them do not know Christ. There are women who are chosen to bear Christ to the world through preaching and teaching.
I pray that all of you women reading this will be filled with the Holy Spirit and that Christ will be born into the deepest part of you being so that you can bear Christ to the world like our sister, Mary.
If you are a woman in ministry, what sort of encouragement do you find from the example of Mary? Who is Mary to you?