Sunday, December 19, 2004

Hailing Mary, Mother of God

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, one of my favorite never-watched PBS shows, just ran a piece about the Protestant recovery of Mary as a Biblical character to be singled out. Protestants have tended to ignore Mary in response to an over-emphasis in Catholic and Orthodox circles, as if our ignorance somehow cancels out their heightened veneration of the mother of Christ. (What magnificent logic we employ....)

But because of the need for Biblical women role models in contemporary discipleship, Mary is becoming a figure to be studied and talked about once again. For starters, she was singled out from all the women mentioned (and unmentioned) by the Bible to be the mother of God-Incarnate. That's got to count for something, right? And her prayer in Luke chapter 1, often called the Magnificat, ranks in beauty alongside the best of the OT hymns in the book of Psalms. It's a about time we Protestants took a long look at this young woman who gave birth to baby Jesus -- and followed him all the way to the cross, a place even his disciples wouldn't dare to go. Click here to read the transcript, with pictures no less!

On another note about Mary, an interesting item last week from MSNBC about how the Virgin of Guadeloupe is gaining in popularity here in the States. The Virgin's humble origins began with a mystical sighting of Mary in 1531 by a Catholic Aztec peasant. She shares both Biblical and Native American characteristics, and is easily one of the first, truly American religious icons of the Roman Catholic Church. The article states at one point, "If you start keeping an eye out for the Guadeloupe image, you’ll see that it’s already very common in pick-up truck rear windows, behind the counter in family stores, ubiquitous in Catholic churches with a large Mexican congregation, and often seen even in American Catholic churches which have very few Mexicans."

Yet she is virtually unknown to Protestants in the States -- even Catholics here have little understanding of her iconic status among Mexican Americans. But as that latter population grows in the U.S., we should expect to see more and more of her in the years to come. So why not bone up on your expertise a little early, and get a jump start on the rest of the church?

That's all I got. Well, that and I'm hoping it snows soon. I really don't want another green-with-naked-tree-branch-Christmas. Gross.

No comments: