I will finish out this Christmas season with a link to a recent issue of CBE’s Mutuality Magazine: Rediscovering Mary. The issue features a series of articles exploring Mary the mother of Jesus from a range of different angles. Mary is an interesting character – and a brave young woman. The best article in the issue (although I am not an unbiased reader) digs into this aspect of Mary in a little more detail: Mary the Brave: Neither Meek nor Superhuman by Katie McEachern.
One Sunday, about a year ago, I was visiting a new church. It was December, and the pastor was preaching about Mary. I was surprised by how well he positioned Mary as an equal to the congregation—neither meek nor superhuman. He presented Mary to us as if she was someone whose experience was worth trying to empathize with, whether we were male or female. As he presented Mary to us this way, I tried to put myself in Mary’s shoes, remembering what it was like to be a teenage girl. In this exercise, I realized something I never had before about Mary: she was brave.
That day in church, the image of Mary I’d unconsciously inherited—the one that held her up as meek, quiet, and submissive, the one that had made her different from me and other women—shattered. Instead, I saw Mary for who I think she was: faithfully courageous, strong, brave, but also, a human woman. Yes, Mary was right when she said, “from now on, everyone will consider me highly favored” (Luke 1:48, CEB), but let’s not allow the privilege of hindsight to overlook the grit of her lived experience. Most importantly, let us not ignore what her experience says about her and about God. Instead, let us allow Mary’s story to teach us never to twist faithful bravery from underestimated people into meekness and submission. And may her story inspire us to be faithfully brave, too.
Mary is an excellent model for all of us, male and female as we seek to follow God. Take a look at the article and the full issue.
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Scot McKnight’s book The Real Mary: : Why Protestant Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus (sponsored link) is also a good read on Mary.