Closing Chapel at Lutheran Interparish School, Williamsburg, IA
Occasion: The Feast of the Visitation of Our Lord (observed)
Text: Luke 1.39-56
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It really is all about Jesus. We want it to be all about us. Repent.
Why do people look down on the plain and the ordinary? I think it is because, secretly, deep down in our hearts, we want to be extra-ordinary, we want to be the best, we want to outdo all other people. In other words, we want to be god, and we want other people to recognize us / as the best and most powerful and most beautiful. / That / is pride and arrogance, it is evil working in our heart. Repent.
Mary / was just plain and ordinary. In her own words, she was lowly. The world paid no attention to her. None of her friends and none of her neighbors expected her to become anything great; she wasn't well known, probably not even popular.
This world is full of people like us, prideful and arrogant, and so this world runs after and celebrates those who are the most impressive. But our Lord is different, our Lord chooses those of low estate, those who are plain and ordinary, those who come to Him empty. He chooses great things for those with nothing to offer.
So it was / that out of all of the women of the world, the Lord chose plain Mary. He chose her and destined her to have the highest honor any human would ever know: For it was Mary who held within her body the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This plain and ordinary woman, who didn't care that all the world know that she was plain and ordinary, Mary was given a privilege that no other person would ever be given again: from her body, she gave God a body.
That is why we call her blessed, that is why her soul magnifies the Lord so much, because the fruit of her womb, Jesus, would die on the cross to bless and magnify all the world with His Divine and eternal Life.
You see, it really is / all about Jesus. There is no greatness / with Jesus. There is no beauty / without Jesus. There is no power / with Jesus.
Some of you (you 8th graders) will be moving on from this place, probably all of you are going to High School somewhere, / you'll be moving up, you're ready to take the next step in your education so that you can do great things and make a great life for yourself; / at least, that's the way the world thinks, and that's what the world will constantly tell you: that if you just work hard enough / and if make the right decisions / and if you surround yourselves with the right kind of people, / then / yes, then you will be the best, you will be great and the world will celebrate you and throw parades for you and everyone will love you and your life will just be so awesome!
Dearly beloved children of God, / I have a little secret for you (which really isn't a secret at all, but we'll call it a secret just to be dramatic about it), please listen carefully...ready?...You already have a greatness and a beauty and a successful life / one that the world only wishes it had. And what do I mean? I mean, that you have Jesus. You are Baptized.
The world promises a successful life for how long? You 8th graders are 13 or 14, right? Say you live to be 75. Do the math...60 years. A long time, right? But what is 60 years compared to FOREVER? / And what about the stuff? The world promises a lot of great stuff. But, let's say that you work hard enough to earn / the whole United States. That's right, everything in the United States, you buy it, it's yours. Pretty impressive, right? And that would take a lot of work, right?
Dear child, you, at the age of 13 or 14, or 10 or 8, you already have more than everything in the United States, you have more than everything in the whole world! You are Baptized, you have Jesus, and so you have the heavenly Kingdom of God! It's all yours, already, without your work. Jesus came to earth and was born from Mary to give you this gift of life forever / and the heavenly Kingdom of God.
Eternal life / and the heavenly Kingdom of God. These aren't just imaginary things. You can't see them yet, but they are just as real as anything here on earth that you can see. And the reason you can't see them yet / is because they are too great, too beautiful, and too much; this world can't hold all that you already have in Jesus. This world is too lame and ugly to have the beauty of heaven.
This is what Mary knew. Mary let her soul and mind be filled with the Word of God, she believed the promises of God; that is why she was okay with the world knowing that she was so lowly, because the world is nothing in compare with the riches and beauty of heaven.
It's all about Jesus / and Mary had Jesus. Literally, she had Jesus in her. That was all she needed. Jesus is all you need to. All you need is Jesus. With Jesus, you have the life that will go on long after all this world is destroyed. With Jesus, you will enjoy the beauty and success and abundance that will surpass anything you will ever be able to earn here in this world.
So now you know, that it's OK to be plain and ordinary, because in your Baptism, you are already so great, so beautiful, so successful. Do not let go of Jesus, He is your life, He is your Beauty, He is your success.
8th grader: as you all go off to High School; and the rest of you, as you go out for summer break, let Jesus' Word, this Word of infinite greatness, let His Word dwell in you richly. Do not neglect meeting at God's House on Sundays, receiving that forgiveness which makes you new and beautiful again and again and again.
In Jesus' name. Amen.