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A Letter to Mary

Dear Blessed Woman,

I know you won’t get this. I doubt you’ll even see this as you are in heaven joined by that great cloud of witnesses. After all, you don’t share the “ever present” or “all-knowing” qualities of your Lord and mine.

What was it like to be surprised by that angel? Did you have any idea? When did you tell your parents? What was their reaction? The Sacred Text doesn’t tell me, but did the angel come to them, too? In my society, parental disclosure from the news source for such an event would help (of course, the celestial announcement would have been appalling by itself). What do you think Joseph would have done if an angel didn’t inform him? Did you really believe or was it surreal? What did your friends say? Did anyone tell the synagogue leaders? Was suspicion building? It must have been a good thing that your cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, too. In a way, she “had the back” of your Lord and mine.

What did you crave during your pregnancy with Messiah? What was going through your head those 9 months knowing you were carrying a king? You really seem to have a mature view of God’s economics when it comes to the rich and poor, for you and your family were always struggling to make ends meet. What did the priest say when you gave him the name Yeshua? What was it like to hear Simeon’s prophecy about your future sorrow? Did you ever really anticipate the grief to come when Jesus would leave your home only to become homeless? Speaking of sorrow and grief, what did you think when you heard of Herod’s slaughter? Did you shed tears in sackcloth and ashes, make an offering or fast? Did you ever imagine the cost involved in birthing your Lord and mine in that stable?

Dear Mary, what was it like to patch up his first scraped knee? How weird was it to go shopping or to parties and never remind Jesus of the family rules? Did you ever feel unfair disciplining his half-siblings? Did you ever in a moment of alone time with Yeshua just bow down and worship both your Lord and mine?

Posted by Will Pareja with

Reformation Rubber

Well, it’s that time of the year to give the token shout out to our faith ancestors for protesting the status quo and religious error. Tuesday is Reformation Day, and it is the 500th Anniversary!

As we’ve said in the past around here, the Reformation didn’t invent really anything new. It uncovered the genuine Apostolic faith authorized by our Lord Jesus. Do you remember the 5 Solas of the Reformation?

  • Scripture Alone
  • Christ Alone
  • Grace Alone
  • Faith Alone
  • To the Glory of God Alone!

Our church is right to focus on these. They hold together and explain our faith well. But, the Reformation isn’t just a religious party around a bunch of smart, dead guys in robes and funky hats. The Protestant Reformation gave us some serious rubber to tread the rocky road of life. We have no future salvation without a right understanding of the Gospel. But, we also have serious difficulty without a right understanding of our vocations and that our jobs matter.

The Reformation gave us a “work ethic.” It rightly broke down the “secular-sacred divide.” “What is that?,” you may ask? It’s the notion that Sunday church is distinct from Monday-Friday work; or, more sinister, that being a “full-time” Christian “man of the cloth” is more significant than the “other kinds” of work out there (blue, white or no collars). Dorothy Sayers, the famous English writer, once countered that misleading distinction saying: “The only ‘Christian’ work is work well done.” To consider that God alone should get the glory for everything breathed new life in ALL that we do. While Sunday worship indeed is vital to being a Christian, it is a part of what we do week-to-week. The Reformation ideal of God’s glory injected meaning into what it means to be a spouse, an employee, a child, a parent— a neighbor. While the Reformation relentlessly clarified the role of works for eternal salvation, it didn’t render our “works” useless or unimportant. Martin Luther famously quipped: “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.”

Happy Reformation Day! Now go out there, rock the rubber of a durable, God-sized work ethic to your job, and do good work this week for God’s glory! S.D.G.

Posted by Will Pareja with