Friday, December 15, 2006

Mary's learning

In Scot McKnight's new book, The Real Mary, there is much food for thought for our own lives and identity in the Story of God. Mary treasures things told her about her son, and ponders everything in her heart. It is very much a learning experience for her. She has to learn to follow her son as her Lord. And she has to be open to having her theology revolutionized, and really turned upside down on its head.This was not an easy process. But necessary. And I believe to some real extent, necessary to everyone else who would follow Jesus.

In one way or another, following Jesus is going to undo so much of what we think is right and true. Why? Well, to begin with, through the Fall, we are wrong. We are wrong in so many ways. And even what we confess to be true, which is, we really don't understand very well. We're people of our times and places. We're shaped by our world. And while there is good there, because of the image of God in humanity and in human culture, there is much that is wrong and antithetical to that Eikonic state of humanity. And we partake in that.

In Mary's case, God had been at work to prepare her to be the Theotokos, the mother and bearer of God, of the God-Man, Jesus. So the convictions in her, which we find in the Magnificat , are wonderful, and shaped by God, from Scripture. Nevertheless Mary, like all of us, really doesn't understand how these prophecies, and God's word, will be fulfilled. She doesn't have the advantage we have, in now seeing the Story beyond her time to the present. Nor, for that matter, do we have some of the advantages she did, as a Jew, grounded in the hope of Israel, living during that time and in that place.

Mary's learning, for myself, is one of the highlights of Scot's book, and of the story we find in Scripture. The end result is learning to be a true follower of Jesus. Living in his way, in his truth and in his life. Mary learned well, and as Scot points out, is probably at least one of the chief sources of the gospel writers, as they get the story "by word of mother".

What place does learning to follow Jesus have in our lives? How can we learn to do this? What's involved? What would you like to share about this?


llbarkat said...

What an interesting point about "word of mother!" Never thought of that.

Ted Gossard said...

Yes, L.L. Nice phrase and many great thoughts in that book. Life-changing.

And "word of mother" is indicative of Mary's unique and special perspective in it all. What an experience she had, in seeing the Incarnation lived out before her, for all those years!