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Call to Worship
from the Canticle of Mary

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior
The arm of the Lord is strong!
God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.
God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
God has come to the aid of God's people Israel.
Let us worship the Lord!

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Children's Messages

Sermon Excerpt

No Christmas Without Mary
Luke 1:39-55
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Luke most likely heard the story of the annunciation from Mary herself (Mary is identified as one of the witnesses Luke had interviewed for the writing of his gospel). It is her "calling story."

As outrageous as we would think a statement like this would be in today's world, as outrageous it must have been back then.

Sometimes, we have this sense about the New Testament era that everything was different. We romanticize it in our minds; to us it was a mythical time of miracles, a time when God talked with people directly, when angels delivered messages and when the world was so much more innocent from today. Give me that old time religion!

Realistically speaking, however, the New Testament times were not so different from our times. When Mary had the encounter with Mr. Gabriel it was just as hard for people to believe her story as it would be today...

...The Song of Mary is one of eight ancient Christian hymns preserved in the New Testament and is the oldest Christmas song.

What a sense of joy, Mary expresses in this Song-a deep appreciation for God's intention to bless the world through this child, even save it like in ancient times. What sense of personal blessing she expresses to be chosen to be a part of this extraordinary gift. She believes that she will be remembered blessed in the history books forever. She was right so far. 2000 years later she is revered and remembered by more than 1 billion Christian believers in the world.

Is it any wonder that Jesus ended up being the prophet he turned out to be? I imagine his mother had a lot to do with his extraordinary sense of destiny to proclaim the good news to the captive, the oppressed and the poor. Or let me put it this way: would Jesus ever have reached his full potential had his not been there to instill this faith and sense of calling in him?

Let's face it: not only did Mary give us the first Christmas song, without her there would be no Christmas.. . Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript


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