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Letter from Pastor
Sermon Notes

From the Pastor

August 15 on our Church calendar is set aside to remember St. Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. But why? Isn’t that “too Catholic”? Do we Lutherans believe that Mary was born without sin, or that she lived a sinless life? Was she “assumed” into heaven, being bodily taken there without dying? What exactly IS it that we Lutherans teach about Mary? 

Good questions. And, of course, the only certain and true source for our answers must be the Bible. Mary plays a big part in the Gospels (no surprise there). And we see her briefly mentioned in the Book of Acts. However, the passages in which we find Mary are mostly in regards to the birth of Jesus and His early life. Very little is said of her after Jesus begins His public ministry. However, from these somewhat limited references to Mary we learn the following things:

    1) she was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus despite her lowly                                  status (Luke 1:48); 
   2) she needed a Savior (Luke 1:47); 
   3) she is called “blessed” (Luke 1:48); 
  4) she struggled in her understanding faith at times (Mark 3:21, 31);
  5) she was/is an example of faith for the Church (Acts 1:14).

So, Mary was NOT sinless. Like all people descended from two human parents, Mary inherited Adam’s sin. And because she has inherited original sin, Mary sinned in her thoughts/words/deeds. Mary herself confesses her need for a Savior. So, why did God choose her? Because of His mercy and grace — God chooses the lowly, the humble, the forgotten. Abraham was an old man with a barren wife. Israel was a nation of slaves. David was the youngest (and overlooked) son. And so on. God’s choosing of Mary says more about God than it does about Mary.

However, she IS blessed. She is the Mother of God. She was privileged to carry and deliver the world’s Savior. She raised Him and taught Him and nurtured Him. Angels and prophets told her who this Child was and what He would do. But none of these really are the reason we call her “blessed”. The real reason is because she believed in that miracle Son of hers. 

We can learn much from Mary. But most of all, her humility in acknowledging her sin and in her faith in Christ as the only Savior from that sin. That is the same blessing that WE have received from God. And it is that salvation in Christ which truly makes her the “Blessed Virgin Mary”.

Pastor Bohler
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