December 19, 2017

Christmas Message: Blessing Generation Upon Generation

Bishop Claire S. Burkat reflects on Mary’s visit with Elizabeth, a Spirit-filled encounter that may have allowed the realization of God’s great promise and fulfillment that was visited upon Mary begin to really sink in.

“God did not promise Mary an easy life, a trouble free heart, an unburdened mind…but God promised her a life worth living, a purpose that will continue to bless generation upon generation,” the bishop writes. And that promise extends to all of us, even if future generations don’t remember our names. “A truly blessed life is a life worth living, a life with great purpose, a life that leaves our world a better place,” the bishop writes.


When Mary, the mother of our Lord, walked through the door of her aunt Elizabeth’s house, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with joy. Elizabeth’s proclamation is one of the most beautiful confessions of faith in Scripture:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Luke 1:42-43)

Two thousand years ago, two women had a Spirit-filled encounter, one very young and the other quite old. Perhaps in the months Mary visited with Elizabeth while they both nurtured their pregnancies, the realization of God’s great promise and fulfillment that was visited upon her began to really sink in.

And we are glad with Mary. Her joy is contagious, her hopes high; she has begun to live into the purpose for which she was chosen.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:46-48)

We know Mary will not have it easy. She will rejoice in the birth of her son, but she will also witness his cruel, humiliating and untimely death. God did not promise Mary an easy life, a trouble-free heart, an unburdened mind…but God promised her a life worth living, a purpose that will continue to bless generation upon generation, well after we are gone also.

We have called Mary blessed because she faithfully answered when God called. We have called her blessed because she courageously allowed herself to be used for God’s purposes. We have called her blessed because she did her part in bringing God’s salvation and incarnation to us, and to the world.

Today we tend to think of people being blessed for what they have… good health, a comfortable income, a loving family, a good job, a nice home, a new car.

Yet a truly blessed life is a life worth living, a life with great purpose, a life that leaves our world a better place.

God gave Mary a mighty purpose and Christ offers this abundant life to us as well. We are all blessed with opportunities and abilities and charisms to heal and change the world.  Especially now, in these cynical times, your joy is needed, your purpose is important, your love for Christ and care for people is crucial for making a difference by sharing the spiritual gifts of mercy and justice and healing and love in tangible ways.

We all have opportunities to say, with Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”

Generations may not recall our names, but Christ remembers — and blesses us with a great purpose and a life worth living.

 

Let us pray: Blessed Jesus, born of our sister Mary, who first believed and obeyed the in breaking of God incarnate: Give us the faith to see and accept your purpose for us, and the strength and courage to truly rejoice in the life worth living to which we are called. Amen

 

With and In Christ,

The Rev. Claire S. Burkat

Bishop