I preached the Wednesday after the events at Charlottesville. I was still raw and hurt. Here are the words I spoke, I hope they brought peace.
O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all. O Ark of the New Covenant! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides.
I’m home sick. I have been for quite some time. Recently the state of Virginia held a short video contest for Virginians to show why they love Virginia. The winner of this contest made a video called “Dear Virginia.” The video beautifully captures the adventures of a small girl in Virginia and how she eventually had to leave and then her eventual return home. I’m not ashamed to admit that I may have teared up a little watching this video, seeing places from my childhood pass before me, telling a story very similar to my own.
I remember roaming the coastal woods of Virginia, the smell of coniferous trees and honey suckle, and the feeling of pine needles between my toes. I remember climbing her mountains; one in particular comes to mind, Cold Mountain. In the middle of the George Washington National forrest, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lies a mountain called Cold Mountain . As you hike through the thick forrest, what emerges before you is a treeless mountain top. It is as if you have been suddenly transported to a Scottish hillside. I remember going to the beaches on the eastern shore where wild horses roam free. I remember surfing the local’s beaches with hair past my shoulders.
Virginia is and always will be my home. So you can understand my despondency when individuals embodying the spirit of the ati-christ, proclaiming a blasphemous and heretical doctrine of white supremacy marched on Charlottesville.
So what do we do? What do we do when men like this march in our home? What to we do when evil men march against our black brothers and sisters, in our own home? What do we do when an evil such as this takes refuge in our home proclaiming itself to be its rightful heirs? What do we do?
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary the Virgin. And I believe that Mary can help us answer these questions. Mary’s response to these questions is two fold. First, she condemns this evil outright, she condemns it as evil and contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Second she presents us with a hope in the face of this evil. She condemns it and she presents us with a hope.
In our epistle reading we hear these words;
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
We all know the story. The angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary “”Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”” And the angle proclaimed to the shepherds, “For today in the city of David there has been borne FOR YOU a savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Christ the Lord takes on human flesh so that he may redeem this flesh, so that he may redeem ALL flesh. To march against people of color is to march against christ himself, for it is Christ that took on their flesh and redeemed it.
Mary bears God in flesh, Mary become the Ark of the New Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! She is the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. Through this we are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters; and if a son, and if a daughter, then an heir through God. We cannot claim supremacy, we cannot march against someone else. Mary condemns this for she gave birth to God who took on all flesh, so that all are redeemed so that all may cry out Abba father.
In response to evil taking refuge in our home, Mary not only condemns it but she give us hope.
You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through god.
It is through the same incarnation that condemns this evil that we also find our hope.
“He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
The Lord remembers his promise to Israel. And through Mary, Christ is born and we find hope. Mary Becomes the ark of the new covenant and we find our hope.
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
Mary becomes the ark of the new covenant,
The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Mary becomes the ark of the new covenant
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
Mary becomes the Ark of the New covenant
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned .
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned .