Homily: August 16, 2015

Pentacost 12, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar Yesterday, August 15th- was the Feast of St Mary the Virgin

in the Episcopal Church calendar –

Because this feast only falls on Sunday every seven years or so

We seldom get a chance to talk about Mother Mary.


So, I saw yesterday’s calendar- and said- here’s my chance.


What do you and I and the Virgin Mary have in common?

Nothing and everything.


Most of us think of the Blessed Virgin Mary as REALLY different than us.


She’s submissive to God,

We’re rebellious.


She’s pristine, holy, shiny,

We are tarnished, sinful, needy.


I don’t want to deny

the many cherished images we may have of Mary-

But I do want to draw our attention today

to what Mary shares in common with us.


Mary was the first Christian.


It was in her heart that Christ was conceived and born

Long before he made an appearance on earth.


We have that in common.


As followers of Jesus way,

the day of our baptism,

as well as every other day,

Christ is being born in us,

as we continue to grow

and to love as God in Christ has loved us.


We ARE loved exactly as Mary is loved by God-

No more, no less,

No differently.


When we come under the waters of baptism,

We find ourselves swimming in a whole new world of God’s love for us.


Deeper than the extremely strong tie between mother- father child,

That love is stronger than death itself.


In God’s kingdom there are no grandchildren or slaves or servants…

There are only those who have been born again,

Have found ourselves in the beloved embrace of a Parent God.


Second, throughout our lives,

as throughout Mary’s

we are never kept from the world at all.


We think of Mary as sheltered, different, purer, holier.


In a word, blessed.


To us,

She looks a lot like the stained glass images

Of her scattered around us here today.


But that blessedness did not take her away

from the harsh realities of the world.



the only prophecy ever said over her

“A sword will pierce your own heart…”

was fulfilled

when she lost her first born Son

To a cruel death on the Cross,

aDeath that the gospel tells us

She herself witnessed.


The other image of Mary outside of stained glass here at Gethsemane is

on our rood screen-

There she stands with young Apostle John

At the foot of the cross.


Comprehend the hideousness

Of having your son die before you,

In front of your very eyes.


No one could say of Mary,

Gee you had it easy.

In reality,

She was more like someone

we might meet in the cashier’s line at Super America.


When she conceived Jesus,

she was barely a teenager.

Everyone around-

with the possible exception of Joseph her future husband,

looked on her with some level of suspicion.


An unmarried pregnant woman

In the ancient near East

was a woman without a home-

liable to be thrown out of her home and village and family.


Such was young Mary.

But even so,

She found herself able to say to God

“Be it done unto me according to your Word.”


I think of her as young, and rebellious

And a little rough around the edges.


She likely had no idea that idea

what was going to happen to her eventually,

but in modern terms she says to God

“Bring it on.”


What a role model!


We followers of Jesus Way are called to do exactly that.

To say Yes…


A loud, sometimes boisterous, yes!



Sometimes quiet,


Yes, ….if you say so Father.


But always a sincere Yes to whatever God wants to do with us.

This is the source of Mary’s power in the world.


She has changed more lives with her simple “Yes”

Than all the kings, and emperors,

in every empire on every continent

in every age

Soldiers and generals and bankers and kings all put together.


Her yes to God,

Spoken while she was barely older than you children we are baptizing today,

Rocked the world in a good way…

In an eternal way.


Clarissa Pinkola Estes-

A poet,    scholar, Jungian analyst

And a brilliant theologian

Put it this way

In her award winning book

Untie the Strong Woman.


This is my prayer for you,


(Rhonda, Susannah, Jim,

Misael, Elian Noelia.}


We lift you up

So Blessed Mother can see

All that you need now

In order to bring goodness and contentment

Healing and health,

Understanding and love

To you and to your beloved

In every possible way.


May you walk now forward into this day,

Both deeply blessed and blessing others

With the magnitude of our Holy Mother’s love.