Luke 1: 46-55

New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • One Like Us

    by Sil Galvan
    No words can describe the sacrifice that my mother made out of love for me, her young son. I was 19 years old, and I was being taken to a concentration camp with a large group of other Jews. It was clear that we were destined to die. There was another group of Jews who had passes and these were going to remain in the ghetto. As I passed by my mother, at the last possible moment and without being noticed by the Nazi officers, she handed me her card and took my place in the line. And although it was more than 50 years ago, I will never forget her last words to me and her good-bye look. "I have lived long enough. You have to survive because you are so young," she said. And I never saw her again. Most kids are born only once. I was given birth twice - by the same mother.
  • The Power of Prayer

    by Sil Galvan
    It is God who enables you to smile in spite of tears; To carry on when you feel like giving in; To pray when you're at a loss for words; To love even though your heart has been broken time and time again; To sit calmly when you feel like throwing up your hands in frustration; To be understanding when nothing seems to make sense; To listen when you'd really rather not; To share your feelings with others, because sharing is necessary to ease the load. Anything is possible, because God makes it so.
  • Exegetical Notes [Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)]

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)

Illustrated Resources from 2016 to 2019

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  • Sermon Starters (Advent 3A)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    I mentioned C.S. Lewis earlier. Here are his reflections on Mary, her song, and her influence perhaps on even her divine-human son: “I think, too, it will do us no harm to remember that, in becoming Man, [Jesus] bowed His neck beneath the sweet yoke of a heredity and early environment. Humanly speaking, He would have learned this style, if from no one else (but it was all about Him) from His Mother. “That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hands of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.” Here is the same parallelism. (And incidentally, is this the only aspect in which we can say of His human nature “He was His Mother’s own son”? There is a fierceness, even a touch of Deborah, mixed with the sweetness in the Magnificat to which most painted Madonnas do little justice; matching the frequent severity of His own sayings. I am sure the private life of the holy family was, in many senses, “mild” and “gentle”, but perhaps hardly in the way some hymn writers have in mind. One may suspect, on proper occasions, a certain astringency; and all in what people at Jerusalem regarded as a rough north-country dialect.)”
  • Interruptions

    by Chenda Innis Lee
    Four years ago, my husband and I discovered we were expecting our fourth daughter. Unlike many of my sisters who struggle with infertility, I am one for whom fertility came easy. I wish I could tell you the news of another pregnancy, in a seven year period (felt more like every year) was welcomed news. It wasn’t. At the time, I was in the everyday throes of doing life with three little girls, ages 7, 5, and 2. I did not have time for this interruption. Additionally, I was in my first solo pastoral appointment at a small African American church, in Arlington, VA. Like most Protestant churches in America, the changing neighborhood demographic had brought a decline in their membership. The appointment of a young pastor, with young children, was certainly a dream come true, an answered prayer for them. With all their hopes and expectations projected on me to curve fifty plus years of decline, and my own goal of applying for ordination that year, I did not have time to yet, again, go through the stages and and changes bringing new life into the world entails. Also, I did not want to have go through having “The Talk”with yet another child, in a country that does not value our sun-kissed skin...
  • Mary's Song

    by R. Dale McAbee
    A few years ago Tony flew to Hawaii to speak at a conference. The way he tells it, he checks into his hotel and tries to get some sleep. Unfortunately, his internal clock wakes him at 3:00 a.m. The night is dark, the streets are silent, the world is asleep, but Tony is wide awake and his stomach is growling. He gets up and prowls the streets looking for a place to get some bacon and eggs for an early breakfast. Everything is closed except for a grungy dive in an alley. He goes in and sits down at the counter. The fat guy behind the counter comes over and asks, "What d'ya want?" Well, Tony isn't so hungry anymore so eying some donuts under a plastic cover he says, "I'll have a donut and black coffee." As he sits there munching on his donut and sipping his coffee at 3:30, in walk eight or nine provocative, loud prostitutes just finished with their night's work. They plop down at the counter and Tony finds himself uncomfortably surrounded by this group of smoking, swearing hookers. He gulps his coffee, planning to make a quick getaway. Then the woman next to him says to her friend, "You know what? Tomorrow's my birthday. I'm gonna be 39." To which her friend nastily replies, "So what d'ya want from me? A birthday party? Huh? You want me to get a cake, and sing happy birthday to you?" The first woman says, "Aw, come on, why do you have to be so mean? Why do you have to put me down? I'm just sayin' it's my birthday. I don't want anything from you. I mean, why should I have a birthday party? I've never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?" Well, when Tony Campolo heard that, he said he made a decision. He sat and waited until the women left, and then he asked the fat guy at the counter, "Do they come in here every night?" "Yeah," he answered. "The one right next to me," he asked, "she comes in every night?" "Yeah," he said, "that's Agnes. Yeah, she's here every night. She's been comin' here for years. Why do you want to know?" "Because she just said that tomorrow is her birthday. What do you think? Do you think we could maybe throw a little birthday party for her right here in the diner?"...
  • The Politics of Memory and Hope

    by J. Leavitt Pearl
    It is perhaps clichéd to note that our contemporary political situation reads like a litany of injustice. From the most intimate sexual assaults, to the most public acts of state violence, injustice appears at every level of society. There is simply no escape from the unbearable weight of injustice. However, in every such moment we hear the quiet call of justice...
  • No More Lying About Mary

    by Nancy Rockwell
    According to Luke, the Angel approached her with words of great honor: Hail Mary, full of grace. Many artists paint the angel kneeling, in recognition of the honor given to her. The angel is explicit; the honor is for the grace that is distinctly hers. This is a courtship scene. the angel is wooing her, on bended knee, a suitor – not a constable bringing a decree. It is Mary’s grace that has attracted God’s attention. And what is this grace? It is what Luke shows us in her conversation and her actions – courage, boldness, grit, ringing convictions about justice. Not submissive meekness. Grace is not submission. And the power of God is never meek...
  • Mary's Song

    by David Russell
    This week, as our nation remembered President George H.W. Bush, we recalled one of the key world events of that era, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Pastor David Lose shares about his visit to Eastern Germany a few years after the fall of the wall. The group he was with had a chance to meet with leaders of the resistance in Leipzig. For several months prior to the fall of the wall in Berlin, peaceful protests were held by the citizens of Leipzig. Gathering on Monday evenings by candlelight around St. Nikolai church, the church where Bach composed so many of his cantatas, they would sing, and over two months their numbers grew from a little more than a thousand people to more than three hundred thousand, over half the citizens of the city, singing songs of hope and protest and justice until their song shook the powers of their nation and changed the world. One of the hosts told Lose that after the fall of the wall, a pastor who was helping to lead the resistance asked a former secret police commander why they hadn’t crushed this movement as they had so many others before. His answer was, they had no contingency plan for song and prayer…
  • To Infinity and Beyond

    by Chana Tetzlaff
    One of my favorite allegories for ministry comes from the scene in Disney/Pixar’s original Toy Story, where toy space ranger hero, Buzz Lightyear, “proves” to Andy’s other toys that he can fly. He climbs up the post of the footrest on Andy’s bed, takes a deep breath, and confidently proclaims his trademark phrase: “to infinity and beyond!” With a leap off the bed, he soars toward the ground but at the last second lands on a bouncy ball, which catapults him head over heels onto a Hot Wheels car sitting at the top of its track. As he rides the car down the shoot and loops around the track, Buzz catches air once again and shoots up to grab the ceiling airplane. His momentum jolts the plane to circle faster and faster until it launches him into a graceful arc to land on his feet in front of the awed and astonished waiting toys. “It’s true!” they exclaim in awe and wonder. He “flies!” (Except Woody, who declares later that Buzz is simply “falling with style.”) Such is often the case with ministry as, despite our all too human quirks and foibles, the Holy Spirit brings grace and transformation out of our fumbling attempts to do God’s work and will...
  • A Visit and a Song

    by Debie Thomas
    Mary's song is so subversive in its cultural, socioeconomic and political implications, it has been banned many times in modern history. When the British ruled India, the Magnificat was prohibited from being sung in churches. Similarly, during the "Dirty War" in Argentina, after the mothers of disappeared children postered the capital plaza with the words of the Magnificat, the military junta banned all public displays of the song. Too much hope, they decided, is a dangerous thing...
  • The Politics of Divine Disruption

    by Fritz Wendt
    Mary’s disruption is God’s threefold revolution: social (the proud are scattered and the outcasts are receiving God’s favor), political (the oppressors will be defeated and their victims freed) and economic (the hungry are fed and those who have withheld the food are being sent away). Brazilian theologians Ivone Gebara and Maria Clara Bingemer write, “Mary’s song is a war chant, God’s battle song enmeshed in human history, the struggle to establish a world of egalitarian relationships”...

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Seeing the Unexpected in Advent

    by Doug Adams
    ("A contemporary artist's rendering of this meeting of Mary and Elizabeth occurs in Michele Zackheim's The Tent of Meeting. Her 1500 square foot art work is in the form of a Bedouin style tent whose canvas walls are covered with historic imagery from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam....")
  • Advent 3B (2014)

    by Delmer Chilton
    Caroline was active in her church. A few years ago she was asked her to do something more, something extra. The churches in the area were opening a Homeless shelter and they needed a director – would she help? Although she was already quite busy Caroline agreed. She went into it with great enthusiasm and high commitment; she wanted to help, she wanted to make a difference in people's lives...
  • Taking Sides: Reversals

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("About the same time that Ambrose ministered in Italy, Saint Basil the Great served as Bishop of Caesarea in central Turkey. Like Ambrose he too spoke Marian truth to the powerful emperor Valens who tried to intimidate him...")
  • The God Of Surprises

    by Tom Cox
    ("A typical Sunday congregation were startled one Sunday by the sight of their priest tottering onto the altar in a red dress with matching hat and heels. Mass started as usual, to the accompaniment of arched eyebrows, shock and pitying looks that spoke; 'the poor man is cracked'...")
  • The Rose Will Bloom

    by Patricia de Jong
    ("There is a prayer that comes to us from the people of Nicaragua, written in 1989, in the midst of the struggle and turmoil of that tiny country: 'May it come soon to the hungry to the weeping to those who thirst for your justice to those who have waited for centuries for a truly human life. Grant us the patience to smooth the way on which your kingdom comes to us...")
  • Magnificent!

    by Rob Elder
    The original language of the Gospel is Greek, and the Greek word for “magnify” is much like our English word, with much the same meaning. Its prefix is mega, and as we might suspect from English words that begin with those four letters, it means to make great, to enlarge, to magnify, to extol. Think of the ways we use words with that prefix today: megastar, megahit, megabyte, megalomania, megalopolis, megaphone, megaton, megadose. In each case, we communicate the idea that something very big is involved. In its Latin root, the prefix transforms from mega- to magni-, which adds another whole list of concepts for bigness to our English language: magnanimous, magnificent, magnitude, and — of course — magnify and magnification. I remember when I was a young boy, we used to use a magnifying glass sometimes to burn a hole through a piece of paper. In fact, as a Boy Scout growing up in the midwest — where there was plenty of sun — many of us carried a small magnifying glass in our bag of essential gear, since it could come in handy for lighting a fire when matches were not available...
  • How Can This Be?

    by Richard Fairchild
    According to a report, FBI agents conducted a raid of a psychiatric hospital in San Diego that was under investigation for medical insurance fraud. After hours of reviewing thousands of medical records, the dozens of agents had worked up quite an appetite...
  • Mary, Mother of God

    by Richard Fairchild
    On Sunday afternoon, June 1st 1975, Darrel Dore was on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Suddenly it wobbled, tipped to one side, and crashed into the sea. Darrell was trapped inside a room on the rig...
  • Mary Sings

    by Vince Gerhardy
    A five-hour bus ride along muddy jungle roads from Colombia in South America there is a small congregation with about 20 believers. The pastor of this congregation was a young man who travelled there on weekends. A visitor to this congregation made this report: "The home of a village woman, Dona Maria, served as their meeting place. The worship services left much to be desired. The singing was abysmal. The pastor was just learning to preach. It poured rain the whole time and the roof leaked terribly. The people were covered in mud from slogging through the dirt roads to go to church. But the prayer time was inspiring, especially the prayer of Dona Maria. This woman had been a widow for twenty years, and her six children had all died in early childhood. She supported herself by doing laundry and sewing. She had given the two front rooms of her home over to the congregation for their services and had herself moved into the two remaining rooms. As she prayed, great tears streaming down her face, her words spoke gratitude for the richness of her life. She thanked God for the people gathered, and it was clear she was intimately involved in what God was doing among them. She thanked him for the privilege of having them in her home and the richness of the time they were enjoying together."...
  • Keeping Our Focus

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("The story is told of a native American from a reservation in the southwest part of the country who won a trip to New York City. He chose to cash in his prize at Christmastime. Among the holiday lights, amplified music, bustling shoppers, and jammed traffic of Manhattan, the young man walked alongside his host, wide-eyed, drinking in the sights and sounds of Christmas in the city...")
  • Heartbeat of Justice

    by Kate Huey
    ("After September 11, a Muslim woman, Ranya, was struggling with questions about her faith and her identity as a Palestinian American. She reached out to two other women and began a difficult but ultimately rewarding interfaith conversation and friendship. Together they wrote a book called The Faith Club...")
  • The Power of Music

    by Will Humes
    "One of our newer members, a man named Ken Nelson, is dying of AIDS, disintegrating before our very eyes. He came in a year ago with a Jewish woman who comes every week to be with us, although she does not believe in Jesus. Shortly after the man with AIDS started coming, his partner died of the disease..."
  • The Magnificat and God's Revolution

    by Edward Markquart
    ("William Barclay says that the Magificat is 'a bombshell'. Barclay goes on to say that people have read it so often that they have forgotten its 'revolutionary terror'. It takes 'the standards of the world and turns them upside down.'...")
  • A Multitude of Ruptures

    by Jim McCoy
    ("In his classic study, The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann insists that biblical prophets are neither fortune tellers nor social protestors. Rather, their ministry is the formation and nurture of an alternative community. The first prophetic task is to criticize the dominant culture in such a way as to penetrate numbness and denial....")
  • Present Perfect

    by Shawnthea Monroe
    In 1955, British philosopher J.L. Austin published a book entitled How to Do Things With Words. In this volume, he laid out his theory that words do not just assert things, but can actually do things. Austin used the example of a wedding ceremony in which a person says, "I do," and the words generate a new reality. He called such words "performative utterances." To say it is to do it. Austin concluded that some words had generative power. Anyone who has done strategic planning knows that this is true. Recently, I was part of a strategic planning process for a local non-profit. We wanted to chart a new course for the future of the organization, and we hired a facilitator to guide us through the process of strategic planning.
  • The Scandal of the Incarnation

    by Debra Dean Murphy
    ["On Gaudete Sunday – the third week in Advent when we are invited to rejoice ("gaudete" in Latin) – we think about Mary and her Magnificat and the scandal of teenage motherhood and we light a pink candle and I think about this gem of a poem by James Wright called Trouble..."]
  • What Are We Waiting For?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    The world witnessed a very similar thing happening in the public life of Nelson Mandela. After decades of oppression in South Africa, you had exactly the sort of social conditions that create the strongest hunger for a day of justice when the scales are tipped and the oppressors are torn down and humiliated and made to pay for the evil they have perpetrated. Mary’s Magnificat was no doubt a popular part of the repertoire of freedom songs
  • Mary's Song and Hope for Newtown

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    One of the most moving responses to the shooting in Newtown I’ve seen is a blog written by the mother of a mentally ill thirteen year-old boy titled, “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” In it she tells the story of her son Michael’s dangerous behaviors, which may someday threaten the safety of others. She concludes her essay with these words: When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.” I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. … But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people...
  • Advent Cessna

    by Larry Patten
    "Once, on a cool December morning, I walked by a woman who, without breaking a sweat, dragged her plane out into the street. Whoa . . . what? I live near an airfield surrounded by houses. Fresno's Sierra Skypark claims to be the oldest airport of its kind. Built after World War II, it provides a plane-crazy homeowner the best of both worlds: your favorite easy chair is mere steps to an oversized garage designed to house a small private plane.."
  • From a Nobody to a Somebody

    by John Pavelko
    ("It is a cold December evening. The snow is covering the ground. In the back corner of the yard stands a lone doghouse with the proverbial beagle lying forlorn on the roof. Snoopy is depressed because he does not know what to say to his little bird friend Woodstock...")
  • Through the Lens of the Magnificat

    by Katherine Pershey
    "Last week, Bill shared during our time of joys and concerns that four members of the Christian Peacemakers Team were abducted in Iraq. The Peacemakers are in Iraq because they believe that the mandate to proclaim the Gospel of repentance, salvation and reconciliation includes a strengthened Biblical peace witness..."
  • The Art of Blessing

    by Jan Richardson
    ("I picked up John O'Donohue's book To Bless the Space Between Us and turned once again to his brilliant essay at the end of the book To Retrieve the Lost Art of Blessing. Here he writes, 'We never see the script of our lives; nor do we know what is coming toward us, or why our life takes on this particular shape or sequence...")
  • From the Heart

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("Charles Krieg of Princeton, NJ tells how each Christmas season he takes his mother into New York City to look at the Christmas decorations and to visit Santa at Macy's Department Store. He says he will always remember the windows of one department store. The first window had a scroll which read The Smell of Christmas in the Kitchen...")
  • Such a Small Thing

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("a young pastor and his wife were assigned to a downtown church. The church had flourished at one time but now had fallen on hard times. But the pastor believed that the Church could flourish again. This particular year a horrendous storm had come through. The church, in need of repairs, suffered another blow..." and another illustration)
  • Bethlehem Moments

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Faye Kellerman tells of a blessing that changed her career. She was a graduate of UCLA Dental School and about to begin a career in dentistry. But, she never filled the first tooth. Instead she became a writer of defective fiction, choosing to explore the human condition rather than oral hygiene...")
  • Mary's View of Christmas

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Natalie Grant tells the story about Christmas when she was six years old. Her family was traveling to Sand Diego in an RV to visit her grandmother at Christmas. Like all little children, Natalie was excited about opening presents on Christmas Day. On the way her family stopped in northern California for the night...")
  • How Can I Keep From Singing?

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("One day back in the early years of computers, an engineer was asked to demonstrate to a group of reporters what his then 'state-of-the-art' machine could do. His computer was one of those huge, room-sized machines -- complete with whirring reels of tape, flashing lights and a great clattering punch-card machine. It probably accomplished about as much work as the typical personal computer today...")

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

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Other Resources from 2016 and 2017

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Other Resources from 2014 and 2015

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

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Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

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Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

Other Resources from 1999 to 2001

Other Resources from the Archives

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Resources from the Bookstore

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Children's Resources

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The Classics

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