March 7 – 4th Wednesday in Lent
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Readings: Luke 1 & 2, Mark 3, John 2 & 19
(The Evangelist Luke is sitting on a bench and looks up at the audience)
Grace and peace to you as you let God’s Will to be done in your life.
Oh, are you looking for Mary, Mary the mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Well I’m sorry to have to tell you but she has gone to be with her Son, in heaven. Yes, she used to sit right here, on this bench, almost every day and she invited people like me to sit down and talk with her. (Pause) Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t introduce myself did I. My name is Luke of Troas, or Luke the Physician. I have been traveling with Paul of Tarsus, but I sat right here with Mary many times. I asking her questions about her life as the mother of Jesus and listening to her tell me and others all about Jesus Christ, God’s Son and her Son.
Why I can remember the first time I came to visit with Mary, I was told that she would be sitting on this bench and as I approached her, I could tell that she was praying, so I stood quietly watching her. At the end of her prayer she said, “Lord, let it be to me according to Your Word. Amen.”
When she looked up she saw me and with a smile she invited me to sit down, right here to talk with her for a while, to help pass the time. So, I sat down right here for many hours or I stood behind the bench at times, as she talked with other people, answering their questions about Jesus, her oldest Son and the Son of God.
I asked her to tell me about Jesus and she said, “Let me start from the beginning.” So she told me all about the Angel Gabriel visiting her when she was engaged to her husband Joseph. She would tell others when they questioned her about that time that it really was the Angel Gabriel, because He had told her his name, and that it really was the power of the Most High, the Spirit of God that conceived Jesus in her when she was still a virgin. She said that when the Angel Gabriel told her all about what God wanted to do in her life she answered, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to Your word.”
I asked her once why she always finished all her prayers with, “Lord, let it be to me according to Your Word.” She told me it was all about Jesus’ life, all the trials and difficulties that she needed to prayed to God about and through the years of being the mother of Jesus she learned to always end her prayers with, “Lord, let it be to me according to Your Word. Amen.” For that meant that God’s Will was going to get done through each situation.
I can remember her smiling and even laughing when talking about all the rumors that were being spread about her and how the Angel Gabriel had to visit Joseph also before he would completely believe her and take her to be his wife. She would say, Poor Joseph, my dear beloved Joseph! He was more confused at times about the things that were going on in our lives with Jesus than I was. She told me, they sometimes had to sit down and talk about all that had happened and laugh about all the funny reactions that they saw in those days leading up to Jesus’ birth and those many years as Jesus grew up, before Joseph died.
She told me about the righteous man Simeon who came up to them and held Jesus in His arms praising God, when they brought Jesus to the temple that first time to give the required sacrifice for Him. Simeon told them all about what Jesus would do in this world and then he told Mary “A sword shall pierce your heart, too.” Mary often said there were many times when it seemed like a sword was piercing her heart, such as when they had to flee to Egypt to save Him from Herod the Great or when they came back to Nazareth to live or what the people were saying about Jesus when He was preaching and doing miracles. Mary said that her heart was pierced completely through when see saw Him die, hanging from that accursed cross on mount Calvary.
Mary told me that there were many times when she would go to God in prayer about Jesus, not understand why this or that was happening and she would always finish here prayer with “Lord, let it be to me according to Your Word. Amen.” I believe that those words became her very identity as she spoke them over and over again throughout those years as she let God’s will be done in her life.
Mary told me about the time when she and Joseph thought they had lost Jesus. It was the first time that they had taken Him to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When they realized that He wasn’t in the crowd they were traveling with, they both ran all the way back to Jerusalem and searched for Him for three days. When they had almost given up any hope of finding Him they went into the temple to pray. They prayed, “O Lord, please give us back our son and Your son save and sound,” and as they finished their prayer with “Lord, let it be to us according to Your Word. Amen.” They looked up and saw Him sitting with the teachers and the scribes listening, asking and answering questions. Everyone was amazed with Him. When they went to Him and told Him how He had scared them He said, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know I must be in My Father’s house?”
Mary told me that every so often she would be reminded that her son was God’s Son and that meant that He was constantly doing God’s will, which wasn’t what the world was expectation and often not what she was expecting either. She told me about the time when He was just starting His ministry and had drop by the house with some of His disciples. There was a wedding for one of boys who had grown up in the neighborhood and so they were all invited. Did you know that a Jewish wedding normally lasted more than a day? Well she told me that at this wedding they had run out of wine and the first day of the celebrations wasn’t even over yet. Mary told me, she found Jesus and told Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” Mary turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus told the servants to fill all the ceremonial water jar with water and then to serve it to the master of the feast. All that water became the best of all wines.
She told me about the time when people were saying some pretty unbelievable things about Jesus. Rumors of miracles had gotten the whole community of Nazareth all riled up and His bothers convinced her that they needed to go and get Jesus before these rumors got out of hand. When they got to the house, in Capernaum, where He was staying they couldn’t even get in to talk to Him, so they sent a message to Him that they wanted to talk with Him. A message came back to Mary and His bothers that He had said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around Him, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mary told me that as they were moving away for the crowds that day she had to drop down on her knees and ask God for an explanation of Jesus’ words, after all the she had given up for Him, after all that her and Joseph had suffered to save His life and give Him a future. She told me, she when to God in pray many times that week following those words and she ended each of her prayers with “Let it be to me according to Your word.” One night after asking that question of God once again and concluding her pray with “Let it be to me according to Your word.” She sat on her bed and remembered the words of the Angel Gabriel and the Old Man Simeon and thought to herself … He was such a good boy … such a good Son … such a good man … He is doing what His Father sent Him to do according to His Word.
Mary told me about the trip to Jerusalem that was Jesus’ final Passover festival. Everyone was filled with great joy and excitement as they came to Jerusalem and Jesus rode that donkey into the city with everyone cheering and singing Hosanna to Him. It looked like He was going to fulfill everything that had been said about Him and then (Pause) He was in jail. How could God’s special Son be on trial for blasphemy? It didn’t make any sense to anyone at that time. Mary told me that none of the trials and the events of that Friday made any sense to her either. Then when she and John and a few others made it up to the cite of the crucifixion she just stood there praying close to His cross and saying to herself, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” (Pause)
Oh, Mary got to see her Son several times after His resurrection and now she is with Him in the heavenly home prepared for all of us by her son’s life, death and resurrection. She knew she was suppose to tell us all about Him as we came to sit with her on this bench and that everything that happened was all according to God’s Word being done for us. (Pause)
Paul of Tarsus sent me down here to talk with Mary all those times and now He wants me to write down all that I have learned about Jesus from Mary, all the disciples and the other people who followed Jesus throughout His life that I’ve been able to talk with. So I guess I should be on my way now. I’ve got a long walk back to Caesarea to tell Paul of Tarsus what I have found out about God’s will being done in our lives like it was done in Mary’s and Jesus’ life.
How about singing the first two verse of the Song “Mary did you Know.”