DayBreaks for 11/07/12 – Let the Chorus Rise

DayBreaks for 11/07/12 – Let the Chorus Rise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…
Luke 1:46-47 (NIV)

It is a song of rejoicing, this torrent of words that flows from the heart and lips of Mary after she arrives at the home of her cousin, Elizabeth.

At first glance, one might wonder why Mary would rejoice at all.  She was a pregnant, unwed Jewish girl in a time and place where such a condition brought the type of shame that our culture can’t even imagine.  She had come to stay with Elizabeth for three months during the middle of her pregnancy.  Why?  I don’t really know, but I would imagine that it might have had something to do with being away from her own village where people knew her and would castigate her visually and verbally for being “with child” but unmarried.  At least in Elizabeth’s home, she had walls to protect her from anyone’s prying eyes.  As a stranger, she would probably pass unnoticed by most, or they would assume she was married and just staying with a relative for a while before the birth of the baby.

I know if I’d been in her shoes (or sandals), I would have sought out a place where I could have hidden for a while.  Sure, eventually she would have to return home to the stares and recriminations again, but at least she found some measure of peace for three months.

But what is amazing is the words that escape from her overflowing heart.  Note the reasons she gives for this outpouring of praise:

God has taken notice of her (and not in the way her human neighbors had);

He is holy (and yet He has shown her, a sinful mortal, favor);

He shows mercy (when all around her were judging and throwing thunderbolts in her direction);

He is strong and has done great deeds (though she is weak and unable to defend herself);

He exalts the lowly and humbles the mighty (it was not to Caesar’s wife that the Messiah was entrusted);

He gives the poor good things (what greater gift than to bear the Savior of the world?);

He has helped His people and is merciful toward them (unlike those who turned their backs on Mary);He has made great promises and will keep them (unlike those who should love but turn away when embarrassed by our failures).

As I write this, it is impossible to know the outcomes of the elections.  It is impossible for me to know the trajectory of the next four years.  But this much is clear and in this I find great comfort and peace: all the things for which Mary praised God are still true today and will be true tomorrow and the day after…ad infinitum.

My heart today can sing the same song: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”  Join the chorus, too, will you?

PRAYER: You are our Lord, our God, our Savior, Redeemer and Friend!  There is nothing for us to fear or dread!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 12/21/11 – You Call This Good News?

DayBreaks for 12/21/11 – You Call This Good News?

You call this good news?!?!?! Putting the "Good News" in perspective...

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33

“Survivor” is a reality show that is one of the most successful franchises in television history. It started in 1992 in Britain and has spread to play in over 50 countries as diverse as Chile and China.

If you’ve seen it, you notice how quickly the 16-20 strangers separate into two groups, no matter how many “tribes” there are. In one group are those who, in the face of the unexpected, meltdown, freeze, or fold. In the other group are those who cope, manage, and overcome when the unforeseen rears its head.

This difference in ability and mobility is less dependent on the facts, and far more dependent upon faith. All “Survivor” stories combine components of grace and good luck, grit and gumption. But at the very base of those who “survive” in the face of surprising challenges, are those who have faith. When it is just too hard to hang on, we need another we can hang on to.

First century Palestine was not a progressive society. Jews and Gentiles, Jewish and pagan, iron-fisted Roman rulers and oppressed subjects lived in an uneasy, unequal social equilibrium. In the first century there were clear “haves” and “have-nots.” Getting on one of these “who’s not” lists had far more social, political, and even “Survivor” repercussions than any Christmas “naughty and nice” list.

In the 21st century it is hard for us to hear how the angel Gabriel’s “good news” sounded to Mary. In the 21st century it is not a death sentence for an unwed woman to receive a birth notice.  It was then. That is exactly what Mary heard at that moment of angelic visitation…

The good news wasn’t about how things would be great with the pregnancy and with Mary’s life, rather, it was about the outcome of the life of her baby…and it was not just good news, but GREAT news…even for Mary herself because she, too, would be saved by her son.

PRAYER: Lord, at the times when we can’t see the good in a situation, remind us of Mary and the hidden power You wield to bring redemption from even a single life.  Let us trust that the good news is truly good and not second guess Your work!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

DayBreaks for 05/31/11 – Saturated

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. – John 12:3

John’s vocabulary allows us to both see, and smell, this incident in the life of Jesus and Mary.  You’ve probably experienced something like it – someone was wearing a fragrance that was so strong that you suspected they had dumped the whole bottle on themselves!  Mary’s gift of perfume apparently nearly overwhelmed the people in the house. The smell “filled” the house, Luke says. The house was “filled with the fragrance. No one could escape it. If you had been allergic to perfume, you’d have had to leave. It was so strong, the smell surely stayed in the house long after Jesus left. For days after, the scent was a constant reminder that Jesus had been in their home, and that he’d made a profound difference in the way siblings related to one another. When Jesus becomes the focus of your family, the difference will saturate your home, too. It’ll fill every corner, and affect every relationship.

PRAYER: Fill our homes and our lives with Your Presence and heal our relationships! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2011, Galen C. Dalrymple  ><}}}”>

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