Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why Mary Matters: Understanding the Place of Christ's Mother in Christianity
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Two years ago, the boys and I fixed French toast smothered in syrup, covered in peaches and sprinkled with powdered sugar, and an omelet filled with chopped onions, ham and cheese, and brought it to my wife in bed as she was waking from her slumber.  A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a flower from our garden, a pecan pie scented candle, a hot cup of coffee, a gift certificate for a pedicure, and some heartfelt cards for Mother's Day also accompanied our entourage. She was blessed, not because she thought she deserved it, but because we chose to honor her for her role in our lives and in our home.
Of all the mothers who were honored amongst Protestant Evangelicals this past Sunday, I cannot help but think of one mother who was most likely ignored on this special day set aside to honor those who bring us into this life, who nourish us as tender shoots, and help carry us through this thorny trek we call life.... Mary...the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To mention her name among most evangelical Christians, conjures a variety of mixed thoughts and emotions; unfortunately, many of them are negative. Almost immediately, our "anti-catholic" radars are set off like air-space defense alarms in our fundamentalist minds to quickly shoot down any proposition that may cause us to think anything but suspicious thoughts about this woman we often ignore in Scripture. As evangelical Bible-believing Christians, we have oft been guilty of bearing an almost haughty attitude towards all things Mary, going so far as to highlight the times when Jesus supposedly rebuked his mother as our only recollection of this woman in Scripture. Because of our ignorance of, and lack of due-diligence in researching more "catholic" expressions of Christianity, we quickly assume that these "sub-Christians" are engaging in some sort of perverted pagan or tribal goddess worship when Mary is given a place of honor in their church experience. While, some extremes do and will always exist, we can no longer immaturely ignore 2,000 years of Church tradition or certain Biblical mandates to venerate Mary. It is much to my chagrin that I myself, in the past could even imagine an afterlife where Mary did not exist, or was somehow hidden away in some distant corner of heaven so that I would not have to deal with her in the eternal reality. Oh how foolish I was!

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