In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Whenever I see the pantomime, as John said, it brings a tear to my eyes. And what an important message that a pantomime carries that we’re living in a very broken world where we finger point at each other. We can destroy the spirit of other people and God has come to bring peace and reconciliation, but we human being continuously do that. So thank you again. And, I think it was written and the choreographed by Deb, you have a talent there and a good spirituality too. So maybe, you may think of doing it every month, make a kind of pantomime group, so every month and prepare a message and write it, and share with us.
Yesterday, I really enjoyed the Christmas concert, especially Hi-C. Wow. You guys are cool. I was so proud of you. You, you’ve done a really, really good job. Thank you very much. You know, Christmas time, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. You know, childbirth is one of the most fascinating and miraculous things you can ever witness and experience in our lives. It is life’s mystery. The life is born in a person’s, in a womb, like a woman, you are blessed people that you can experience that we are witnessing to that mystery of life. I mean, the mysteries are around us. We can never take for granted the childbirth because whenever we see the birth of children, we experienced the mystery of God and the mystery of life. And today we’ll baptize Emily and Yoona. And what we are doing is we are celebrating as the community for this wonderful mystery of God. I mean, these children were born with potential. These children were born for a specific reason, and God has blessed them. Otherwise, they will not have been born. God has blessed them, so they are a given birth in this world. So, we are celebrating his community, the mystery of life, mystery of God and the mystery of this community.
The Mystery of Life
Today’s scripture passage, we see two women also celebrating the birth of two babies. And these two babies are very, very spiritual babies. They will change the course of history in the way that we could never imagine in a radical way. They’re both had impact, such a profound impact on humanity, on the history of this world, in the way that we can never imagine, you know. I wonder, without their messages, what will be like, this world? What would this world be like without their messages? People, I mean, this humanity will run into totally wrong direction.
And the message that these people, these two babies, proclaimed to us, continuously held, held in tension so that humanity doesn’t go in the wrong direction all the way. Without these messages that the powerful always will exploit the weak and that they will take that for granted. But this message always held them in tension. And I’m really thankful for the message that these two babies to us, the birth of Jesus Christ is a birth of God’s desire. Birth of Jesus Christ, his birth from God’s message. That’s what birth of Jesus Christ means. It was a very difficult reality for Mary, a teenager, being pregnant without marriage at that time. That was a difficult reality. What happened to Mary was what no ordinary woman would have experienced. She was an ordinary woman who experienced the extraordinary experience that no one experienced before, but it was hard to understand and hard to accept and hard to digest. But Mary saw the work of God behind this hard reality. In other words, Mary saw the mystery of God.
The mystery of life is this. Behind our harsh reality, there is a work of God. There is a reality of God in your harsh reality. If you see only harsher reality, you become harsh people, but behind this harsh reality, we see the work of God and that, I think that, is the mystery of life. I hope that we all experienced the mystery of life. Life may be difficult. Life is not easy. Life may be difficult, but behind this difficult life, there is work of God. That’s why life is a mystery. How did Mary know? I don’t know. That’s another mystery.
How God Works
You know, when we see God working, we know who God is working. That is the mystery. Sometimes don’t you experience that? Certain experience really a causes “Wow. God is working”. Knowing that it’s a mystery. We don’t know how to explain that. There was no proof that we can provide, but we know that God is working. That itself is a mystery. That’s why Mary came to Elizabeth, with her relative, who also experienced that mystery of life. So she wanted to share that mystery with her relative Elizabeth. The community is people who have experienced mystery. We come together here and we share our mystery with each other. And so Mary went to see Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth saw
Mary, she knew that something wonderful was happening because the baby in Elizabeth womb leapt for joy. That is a mystery. When you have children, that children give a message. You know, when my wife was pregnant, she was crazy about steaks. Every night she wanted steak. And Joshua loved steak. And the second baby, all of a sudden, Grace loves lobster and she was looking for lobster everywhere!
It’s a mystery! Whatever child in that womb recognized that John, in Elizabeth womb, recognized the work of God and recognize Jesus. So Elizabeth, blessed Mary, for she was the carrier of God’s mystery. This is what she said. Blessed are you among women. And blessed is the fruit of your womb. How wonderful it is to bless each other in all blessings, blessing each other means recognizing God’s work being done in the person we bless. That’s what blessing is. Blessing each other means recognizing God’s work being done in the person you bless. For example, I bless you. Then I recognize that God is working in you. That’s what we do. I think we should bless each other all the time. We should recognize that God is working wonderful things in your life. We should do that more often. Why don’t you turn around and say the blessing? Just turn around and say the blessing. Yeah, let’s see. Let’s see.
We should do that more often. You know? Instead of cursing each other, we bless each other, right? We should recognize God’s wonderful work being done in each and every person’s life. Then Mary magnified the Lord. Mary, somehow, something inspired her. It was not what she saw in reality. What she saw, in reality, was not really what she confessed right now, but she magnified the Lord. In other words, the message that was impregnated in her kind of came out of her mouth and that was God’s message and this was what she said. God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts and God has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things. God has sent the rich away empty.
This is a message Mary saw when she had baby Jesus. This was what Jesus was supposed to do. It was not the reality she saw around her. Soon she would experience hundreds, thousands of innocent children being massacred. That was her reality. It’s not what she saw, but that was a message, God’s message. That’s what God would do in any situation. God will bring down the powerful, send away the rich empty, but God will lift up the lowly and will fill the hungry with good things. What wonderful news. It is wonderful news, but not to everyone, as John said. People who continuously exploit and punish and persecuted the innocent, to them, this message is not a wonderful message. This message is a scary message. A threatening message.
In the 1980’s, the government of Guatemala, they prohibited Mary’s Magnificat to be recited in public. By law, they prohibited that you should not recite Mary’s Magnificat because it was too subversive to them. The message was too dangerous for them, but to us, this is good news, a wonderful message. It is a declaration that the power-hungry world is not the world that God has in mind. The power-hungry world is not the world that God wants to design. God wants to design the world where we bless each other, we encourage each other, and we build up each other. As the pantomime clearly articulated, going finger point at each other, even Hi-C among you. There are some popular people. That’s a power.
Don’t exploit the unpopular people in your group. Lift them up, rather than just admiring the popular people. People who are not that popular, people who may not be that talented, lift them up. That is a message of Jesus Christ. We continuously have to lift them up, even around us, among us. There are weak and vulnerable people around us. We take care of them. And that is the message of Christmas. That is the message of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. So this time, let us celebrate the birth of these two infants and let us baptize them. That is our way of celebrating the birth of these children.