Dec 16, 2012: Which Line R U In: 1st Class or Economy?

Posted on : Dec 13th, 2012 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Earlier this year I had a surreal experience while in an airport waiting for a flight back to LA.  The line was long and every seat on the large airplane was full.  The ground crew had gone through the normal pre-boarding and first class boarding routine and finally they were boarding us “low life’s” in “economy class.”  Have you noticed as the airlines add more and more fees, they’ve also intentionally devalued their main cabin customer’s status?  Those who don’t purchase “Extra Leg Room” in “economy class” are looked down upon like “the lowest of the low.”

As I was standing next in line waiting for the agent to scan my ticket, a young mother with a fussy baby in a stroller came to the gate and came up to the agent on the “First Class – Elite” side of the boarding line.  She clearly “crossed a line!”  The gate agent, who probably earns a tad above minimum wage, had a melt-down even more emotive than the poor woman’s baby who was not a happy traveler.  The agent screamed at the poor woman, “You can’t come this way; can’t you read!  This line is for “First Class and Elite Passengers Only!”  Can’t you see the sign?

“The sign?” I said to myself.  “What sign?”  Then I saw it.  It was a commercial door mat, just like we have outside and inside the doors at church, only on it were the words “First Class / Elite.”  It was not my best pastoral moment, but I just broke into laughter.  Uncontrollable laughter.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control it.

More true confession about my sinister side on Sunday.  However, I immediately thought of Mary’s story.  Here’s a poor woman, traveling solo with a cranky kid, and she gets yelled at for “crossing the line.”  What line?  The line between “the elite” and “peasant class.”  Talk about marketing and messaging!  Holy God!  This is just about as sad as it gets.  But it perfectly illustrates another God-message as we prepare to welcome Jesus, the “peasant baby” born to peasant parents, into our lives and world.  So, “Which line are you in:  First Class-Elite or Economy?”

Read Mary’s story below.  Then think about the answer to that question and get ready for an upgrade [or a downgrade].



~ 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 house 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.  God will give Jesus the judgment seat of David, his ancestor, to rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his reign will never end.

Mary said, “How can this be, since I have never been with a man?”

The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you – hence the offspring to be born will be called the Holy One of God.  Know too that Elizabeth, your kinswoman, has conceived a child in her old age; she who was thought to be infertile is now in her sixth month.  Nothing is impossible with God.”

Mary said, “I am the servant of God.  Let it be done to me as you say.”

With that, the angel left her.

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.

Leave a Reply