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Sermon Notes

Participating in Peace

Luke 1

Introduction:

  • Competition and conflict can destroy peace
  • With so much drama in our society, we’ve been conditioned to create drama in our own lives.
  • Mary and Elizabeth are going to show us how we can be peacemakers.
  1. Mary and Elizabeth: Understanding their story
  • It involves a plot twist: a radical change in the expected outcome of the plot. (i.e. Mary Magdalene at the tomb)

Zechariah & Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-21)

  • Elizabeth is around 60 when she is pregnant with John.
  • Although she was childless for most of her life, she was committed to YHWH.

Mary (Luke 1:26-39)

  • Mary was a teenager in the early stage of betrothal when she was visited by the angel.
  • Her pregnancy would have brought a lot of shame

Together, these stories are a classic example of a “birth of a hero” narrative.

  • ie Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Ishmael
  • When people listened to Luke’s story of Mary and Elizabeth, they expected a conflict between them, especially since one of the boys will be the Messiah
  1. The plot twist of Jesus
  • Everything about Jesus reflected peace and love. Even in the womb, Jesus has this calming, joyful effect on Elizabeth and her son in the womb, John.
  • In this plot twist, instead of rejecting Mary, Elizabeth receives her with love and shows hospitality.
  • What would happen if we did a plot twist by speaking peace, first and by descalating the conflict.

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

“The song of Mary is the oldest Advent hymn, it is at once the most passionate, the wildest, one might even say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung. This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary whom we sometimes see in paintings; this is the passionate, surrendered, proud, enthusiastic Mary who speaks out here. “This song,” “has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of some of our Christmas carols. It is instead a hard, strong, inexorable song… about the power of God and the powerlessness of humankind.”

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letter from Prison

– Mary’s song is inspired by the words of blessing spoken over her by Elizabeth.

iii.  Participating in Peace

  1. Peace-making is a choice we make everyday
  2. Peace comes from time alone with God.
    • In order to be a person of the plot twist, you must get your own soul untwisted.
  3. Practice radical hospitality
  4. Peacemaking can have a generational effect
    • The humility that Elizabeth expresses is something passes onto her son.

Become a plot-twister: Invite the Holy Spirit into your headspace  (I Ptr 2:21-24)

  • What stories are you telling about yourself? (esp. people that you have been in conflict or in competition with). How has it affected you?
  • What stories are you telling about your enemies that stir up conflict?
  • What healing do you need in order to offer peace?
  • What blessing can you speak over another that will offer a plot twist and break the cycle of conflict?