Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mary's Revolution

The Gospel is controversial

Jesus came as a baby not an adult who rose to the throne, the head of a government. His birth was told to the lowest of society: Shepherds would were shunned and to the foreigner – Wise Men. Jesus was found with the lowest of society rather than inside the synagogue preaching. Jesus did not judge either. He called out the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and did not wage war but preached and practiced grace, forgiveness, and love of both neighbor and enemy.

Today I believe Jesus would be found with the homeless, the orphaned, the immigrant, the poor, the minority, the imprisoned, the refugee, the tortured, persecuted and killed.

I am skeptical that he would be found in the church and among those with great power, those blessed with great wealth and those who pass laws to oppress and discriminate against those in the minority.

In the gospel of Luke Mary gives us a description of who the God of all creation is.

Luke 1:46 - 55

And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."

When Mary says, "...he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts," she speaks of a moral revolution. 

The proud will be made humble. 

The story of a young woman named Mikah shows us what humbleness looks like, the opposite of pride and conceit.

When Mikah's mother came down with chicken pox when she was carrying Mikah. As a result Mikah was born with multiple birth defects. Despite that her spirit and cognitive capabilities were not affected. She constantly thought about others and how she could help them have a better life. Age, gender, color, ability or disability did not matter to her. If they were in need she wanted to help. Before dying at the age of 21 she continued to pray that her grandmother would come to know the Lord.

People like Mikah remind us that we are here on earth to serve and help others, not help ourselves

When Mary says, " He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.," she speaks of a social revolution.

Hundreds of years ago a wandering scholar named Muretus lived. He was very educated but also very poor. He became very sick, and he was taken to the place where the destitute were kept. The people who cared for him did not know that he was a scholar and that he understood the scholar’s Latin. One day the doctors were discussing his case in Latin and they were saying that he was a poor creature of value to no one and that it was hopeless and unnecessary to expend care and money on attention to such a worthless human. Muretus looked up and answered in their own Latin, “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.

In America homicide is in the top 3 causes of death among people between the ages of 10 – 24.

  • The rate for Caucasian males is 1.5 per 100,000
  • The rate for Hispanic males is  7% higher than Caucasians
  • And the rate for Black males is 30% higher than Caucasians
  • In America 1 in 5 adults has a disability according to the US 2010 census. That is 19% of the population. Adults with disabilities face discrimination all the time because of their lack of ability by those who feel superior to them and all they can do for themselves.

In America dependency tends to be seen as an evil word. 

  • Lastly, but possibly most important, 686,000 victims of abuse were documented in 2012 in America. 

All these children and adults have worth because Christ died for them and when we discard, neglect, abuse, mistreat and kill we have done these things to the Christ child.

When Mary says, "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty," she speaks of a economic revolution

Consider these statistics: 
  • Homelessness: 610,042 per night in January 2013
  • Poverty: 15.9 % unchanged from 2011-2013
  • Unemployment: 5.8% Currently – 18,517,022 without work
But for you who have been held down, held back, oppressed and mistreated I have a word of favor from your Lord and Creator: 

Isaiah 61: 1 – 3 says (NIV), 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Because my God and Christ stand with the least of these I stand with:

  • Young males of color who fear leaving their homes for fear they will be killed because of the color of their skin.
  • I stand with all children who have been abused and lost all trust in adults
  • I stand with children who have been neglected and abandoned
  • I stand with all those who are disabled and want the respect they deserve
  • I stand with the homeless who want a roof over their head and a pillow to lay their head on.
  • I stand with those who do not know where there next meal is coming from.
  • I stand with adults who work full time and still can't make ends meet
  • I stand with the innocent who are in prison
  • I also stand with the guilty who are in prison for Christ died for them as well.
  • I stand with children who want an education around the world only to be shot and killed by grown men who are intimidated.
  • I stand with teachers in America and around the world who sacrifice their own lives to protect their students when madmen arm themselves with assault rifles.
  • I stand with those who are oppressed by laws that deny them the equal rights simply because someone doesn't like their lifestyle.

Because my God and Christ stand with the least of these I stand AGAINST:

  • Modern day Herods who have no conscience and will kill any and all children who are a threat to their power.
  • I stand against governments who continue to oppress the poor and praise the wealthy and powerful, for they are oppressing the Christ child and supporting the government that wanted him dead.
Do you the church believe in God and your Savior Jesus Christ? If you do you must stand with the least of these and work to bring down all those with power who seek to oppress the voiceless. Will you be a voice to the voiceless and stand with the least of these?