The Lord has been dealing with me about two extremes that exist since the Reformation that needs correcting. It is precisely part and one of the central players in the Christmas story. We need to deal with the Mary issue. There is a theological divide which determines which side you fall, and yet the person of Mary becomes misunderstood and some of the main theological truths are lost due to division and disagreement.
Mary is the forerunner of the New Testament believer and the completion of the Old Testament saintLet us wade into the Scripture, the very little it says, but within the very few references we take a great depth of truth.
The Angel Gabriel came to a very young Mary, (Miriam) in the Hebrew, and responded to her question to the plan of the Father to birth through her the Son of God. He said “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you”. This coming of the Spirit upon Mary is the same Spirit that comes TO the believer in Christ. Mary is the first “believer” in the sense of the word, and this makes her a forerunner of the New Testament believer. She is according to the Old Covenant also considered righteous, by believing, (” Be it according to your word”) ,we see this at work in Genesis 15:6, when Abraham believed and it was counted as righteousness. I had a personal block on what was the Old Covenant, it is made up of the Abrahamic Covenant, Davidic Covenant and the Mosaic Law. We often define the Old Covenant as the Law, but it is not. I began to see this over the last 2 years, when asking God, researching and reading Scripture, theology etc. We have been led to believe that the Old Covenant was less glorious than the New, yet it has not been. In Genesis 15 God stands before Abraham and declares covenant, going with a torch of fire between the pieces, and the Davidic covenant given also in Glory in the Tabernacle, the Law given in Glory on Mount Horeb. So the Old was not less glorious than the New. In believing, in the same way as Abraham, as a child of Abraham, she is made righteous and she completes the Old Covenant.
Mary as the God Bearer, TheokotosThe term Mother of God is stretching somewhat a glorious truth, that presents a issues among the Churches
It is interesting that Mary went to live with the Apostle John in Ephesus, in accordance with ancient Church writings. Yet in 431AD precisely in Ephesus the Council of the Church was to decide what Mary’s role in the Church theology, the Gospel Message was. The term agreed was Theokotos used to define her, and yet this term has been interpreted into Mother of God, and much has been misunderstood. The extremes I refer to in the beginning ranges between a adoration of Mary, in some Catholic and Orthodox, Anglican circles, and to ignoring her largely in the Protestant and Independent churches. I am convinced God desires to put an order to this contradiction.
The misunderstanding comes when we deal with two concepts relevant in our theology, where we must decipher between adoration and veneration. What we have in Protestant circles is the fact they detect in some adoration of Mary, for which adoration is given to God alone. Then they completely fail in the veneration of Mary, veneration meaning honour. We must give special honour to Mary being she bore the Saviour of the world. To bear this Saviour she must have always had a special relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Most High who overshadowed her. She had an intimate interaction with God which very few have had throughout history. Think for a moment, who was conceived in her, Who did the conception work, and what she brought to birth! Surely she deserves great honour among women in accordance to the Words of Gabriel. For another side, too many in ignorance fall into adoration of Mary, and seem to put her on the same level as Jesus Himself. I believe there could be some eternal privilege and honour given to her, but she is not on that level. We need to correct this theologically, and we must also give her due veneration.
The Power of the Most High shall overshadow youWhen God overshadows us we never walk the same again.
Mary was to walk in a dimension where the Most High surrounded and enveloped her, and I do not believe that throughout her life this diminished when Jesus was born. So much so in John 2 we see her notion of divine opportunity. I can bet with the way the Church and society are polarised my message will be labelled Catholic and I will be seen as someone who has betrayed the Reformers. I believe that theology and theologians must call out the errors that exist, and they do, on all sides. This Godly privilege must also demand a godly honour, but we need to understand the principle of adoration and how it contrasts with veneration. This confusion has led Protestant evangelicals to see veneration as adoration, and have rejected any veneration. On the Catholic/Orthodox/Anglican side there is also an essence of adoration given to Mary, because there is no clear difference in comprehension between adoration and veneration. Adoration belongs to the Godhead alone, but veneration is given to those who lived according to Grace. And it is this veneration that describes Mary as the Theokotos, given eternal privileges that no other is given as earthly mother, but also an example as Mother to the Church. This may be shocking to you, but where some extend theology to make Mary almost divine where Scripture does not, is not correct either. We need to go back to determinations made in Church Councils in the past.
The dimension that Mary walked in, had its price, as Luke 2 describes, that Simeon prophesied a sword would pierce her soul also. This means that just as Mary would share intimately Jesus’ suffering she would also share in His Glory. The things about Mary are very few in Scripture, they are below the surface and a true and balanced perspective must be drawn from them.
This message is more of a correction theologically within the context of the Christmas Advent story. We see through time, through traumas in the Church some man made traditions can obscure the truth. Mary had a privilege, but a high price to do what she did, and risked her own reputation. We must firmly deal with this issue and put it in firm Biblical place. May this advent we put things in order, so that in having order God can command a blessing.