Happy New Year to you .. & happy feast ..the feast of Mary the Mother of God.. ..not only Mother of Jesus but Mother of God God speaks to us through mystery..the unexplainable..of that which is beyond human understanding.. ..God’s creation is full of the unexplainable, the “yet to be understood” & we will know, in time in a New Year & in a new time zone..kairos time/divine time.. God, author of life & of kairos time, sent his Son to live in chronos time among us, & gifts us this morning 365 days of chronos time we call 2020..
& he blesses us & our 2020 as he did through Moses 3270 yrs ago.. ”may the Lord bless you & keep you..” as he welcomes us home.. ; Lord have mercy “may the Lord let his face shine on you & be gracious to you” ..his shine & his grace to restore our polish.. ; Christ have mercy “may the Lord uncover his face to you & bring you peace” ..a look & a peace the world cannot give.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“Mary treasured all these things & pondered them in her heart..” a Mary, like Joseph on Sunday, silent or silenced?..according to Luke Mary says not a word. What you have heard I’d like to suggest is too good to be true..too good to be real..as Betjeman asks “is it true..is it true?” what did Mary say & how did Mary feel that first Christmas?..& I could have gone along with the story explaining to you how neat & tidy it is “it was exactly as they had been told” ; however my appetite for the truth & reality led me to Anne Thurston who taught me scripture in Dublin 20yrs ago ; she takes familiar stories about women “& reads them against the grain, resisting the traditional interpretations, & liberating them from the pious & political interests that have tried to control them for many centuries” she talks of Mary & Elizabeth being “good gossips “ witnesses to the Word & bearers of the Word..one who is “sib-in- God”.. that is spiritually related. God sib, near your own age God-sib ..sibling the God child of your parents, one you trusted above all others,with secret little talks between God-sibs which our secular world took from us & now calls “gossips”a day to give thanks for your spiritual relation, your God-sib with whom you share your story”we need to retrieve the goodness of gossip”says Anne Thurston ..& when you go home from Mass & someone in family asks “what was Fr Bede on about this morning?” tell them he praised the importance of hot gossip” & wait for a reaction!..Anne refers to her fellow theologian Sara Maitland & that lead me back to her book of some years ago entitled “Stations of the Cross” she puts words into the mouth of Mary after due reflection prayer & under the influence of the Holy Spirit.. some would wish to write it off as “gossip” & now redefined it surely is God-sip..I would like to share one chapter with you now, hopefully for you to treasure & ponder on.. [ Station 4 ; Jesus meets his Mother ]
..story I have read many times & on Monday last, when I read it again, & for the first time, as each time we read scripture “God speaks to us” for the first time, I cried..I’ve used some passages from the book for some of my retreats over the last 15yrs; a CofE vicar I got to know lovingly typed them out for me chapter by chapter..Rev Carole Copeland..I got a letter at end of Nov telling me she had died in a Care Home in York aged 82, suffering from increasing dementia..like Anne Thurston & Sara Maitland she spoke wrote & preached provocatively & passionately, helping me, & hopefully you this morning, to hear familiar texts, & Mary the Mother of God, with fresh eyes..even perhaps with a tear.. “..the Almighty has done great things for me..” indeed he has, so now, with Our Lady’s blessing go home & gossip about it.. ..a New Years resolution I would suggest ..to leave your gruffiti..not graffiti but gruffiti.. in waste bin at back of Church..& go home to enjoy gossiping..