And Still, She Praises

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 10-12; Luke 1:39-56


46 Mary said,

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
47     In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
    Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49         because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50     He shows mercy to everyone,
        from one generation to the next,
        who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52     He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
        and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
        remembering his mercy,
55     just as he promised to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.” (Luke 1:46-55, Common English Bible)

Call her naive, after all, she was most likely only 13 or 14 years old. On the other hand, call her spiritually mature beyond her years. She knew better than to even think she could outrun God.

Was she naive? Mary was engaged to Joseph. Being engaged in the Biblical era was about as binding of a contract as a woman could be in, though the woman had no real say in said contract. And, think about how she would sound. “I am pregnant. God did it.” Honestly, would you believe a word she said? I am honestly not sure I would believe her. Those words certainly don’t sound very mature.

To make matters worse, and Mary had to know this, for an engaged woman to have sex with a man was adultery. It was just that simple. As soon as her pregnancy was noticeable tongues would start to wag. It wouldn’t be long before the religious leaders, some of the very ones Jesus would deal with some 30 years later, would become involved. Once they became involved, there would be a call of some kind to stone Mary to death, the penalty for a woman caught in adultery. It would have been lights out for the Messiah before Bethlehem was even on the horizon.

And, still, she sings praises to God.

But perhaps, despite her young age, what we see here is spiritual maturity. Here just might be a young woman who knew if God gave her this task, God would walk beside her and see her all the way through. With the turn-around in Joseph, that is exactly what God did.

Whichever it is, naive or mature or something altogether different, or maybe it was a combination of both, make no mistake, Mary was a woman who truly was favored by God. Was it easy? I don’t know of a mother alive who would tell you pregnancy is easy under the best of circumstances and Mary’s circumstances were far from ideal. Still, she praised God. Joseph was anything but excited with the prospect of a pregnant fiancee of which the baby was not his. Still, she praised God. People around her talked. They talked about her. Without question, people would have talked. It is just the way some folks are. Still, she praised God. She knew she could die. Still, she praised God. She had the frightening responsibility for raising the Son of God. And still, she praised God.

As I read Mary’s story, at least to me, it is easy to see, God made the right choice. She was a young woman who was at least a little naive. But, she was also a woman with a spiritual maturity well beyond her years. She was a woman after God’s own heart, who would follow God’s will, all because she had a heart for God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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