“Help, LORD, for no one loyal remains; the faithful have vanished from the children of men.” Psalm 12:2
This past Sunday, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, I used the movie Children of Men to illustrate the point that Mary as the Mother of Jesus, Mother of God incarnate, was a scandal beyond compare. In the movie a young woman named Kee, an African refugee, is pregnant with the first child on earth in 18 years. She is quite literally carrying the salvation of mankind inside of her. Towards the end of the movie there is an incredible scene after the child has been born. She and several others are walking/ running through a military battle. As she walks through soldiers and guerilla fighters begin to see the baby and hear it cry. As they do all fighting stops, the guns and bombs are silent, their faces are transformed into awe and wonder and some begin crying. The film goes almost silent at this point and for several minutes all you can hear is footsteps walking across rubble. Kee and those with her walk out of a building into the light in silence.But no sooner than they had crossed the street a bomb explodes breaking the peace.
As I stood preaching yesterday at Church of the Holy Spirit, I was standing between two icons of Mary, the one behind the altar and behind me was Our Lady of Guadalupe the one directly in front of me was Our Lady of Alaska. One Mexican Mary and one Native Mary to lift up the point that Mary was not a suburban white woman. She was a poor, middle eastern child with no rights in first century Palestine. The scandal to the powers and to the world is that God came to her. God chose the lowliest to show the world who God was and where God was. That God was not sitting on a throne all powerful and separate from those He loved. In coming to Mary God placed himself with those that the world calls “other”.
In my home state of Alabama and in many places across this country human beings are being judged and discriminated against based on what they look like and where they come from. Laws are being passed about who the “right” kind of people are, and who is welcome. What we know about God from the story of Mary is that he is with those that we might otherwise ignore and that when we ignore them we miss the opportunity to meet God in a new place and to be touched by His spirit.