December 17, 2017: Are you a Nobody or a Somebody?

Posted on : Dec 14th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

The continuing accusations and revelations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse have certainly opened up a national conversation about the use and abuse of power by powerful men.  You might synthesize the situation like this: Some powerful men think they are Somebody – Somebody Special, who have the right to overpower Nobodies – people who are not powerful or famous.  Each of the persons (mostly women but also a few men) who has come out about being sexually harassed or abused has shared that the reason they did not speak up at the time is because they felt powerless and feared losing their employment or having their careers destroyed if they said anything.  That scenario of the powerful keeping the powerless silent has worked for a very long time.  That is, until just a few weeks ago when for some reason, the stories of the powerless were actually heard and believed.

The Gospel this Sunday is about Mary’s story.   During her lifetime, Mary was a Nobody.  She had no power or privilege or wealth or anything.  She was just a nobody.  At least that is what her culture thought of her.  But God saw something very different in Mary.  In God’s sight, Mary was not a Nobody.  She was Somebody, somebody whose lifepath would change the world.

Are you a Somebody or a Nobody?  Jennifer Brownell, one of our Still Speaking Devotional writers, does a great job of naming those who are “Somebody” in our culture today – the Beautiful, the Glamorous, the Powerful.  But she quickly adds that those who are the Somebodies today can quickly become the Nobodies of tomorrow.

How do you think of yourself?  Are you a Somebody or a Nobody?  Mary’s story makes God’s perspective very clear.  We are all Somebodies – somebody special in God’s sight.  And when we are all Somebodies, then there are actually no Nobodies.

More on Sunday.

Advent Blessings to each of you,

Dan

 

This Sunday’s Scripture:

Luke 1: 26-31 & 39-56

The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the child of God – and Mary joyfully celebrates.

Six months later, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman named Mary; she was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the household of David. Upon arriving, the angel said to Mary, “Rejoice, highly favored one!  God is with you!  Blessed are you among women!”

Mary was deeply troubled by these words and wondered what the angel’s greeting meant.  The angel went on to say to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God.  You’ll conceive and bear a child and give him the name Jesus.  His dignity will be great, and he will be called the only begotten of God. 

Within a few days Mary set out and hurried to the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered her uncle Zechariah’s house and greeted her aunt, Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.   In a loud voice she exclaimed to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of the Messiah should come to me?  The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who believed that what Our God said to her would be accomplished!”

Mary said,

My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,

     And my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior.

For you have looked with favor

     Upon your lowly servant,

And from this day forward

     All generations will call me blessed.

For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,

     And holy is your Name.

Your mercy reaches from age to age

     For those who fear you.

You have shown strength with your arm,

     You have scattered the rich in their conceit,

     You have deposed the mighty from their thrones

     And raised the lowly to high places.

You have filled the hungry with good things,

     While you have sent the rich away empty.

You have come to the aid of Israel your servant,

     Mindful of your mercy –

The promise you made to our ancestors –   

     To Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home. 

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