Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hannah and Mary

Hannah's Story- Hannah was the mother of Samuel-a prophet, priest and judge . She was married to a guy with two wives, herself and Penninah. Penninah was not a very nice woman. She mocked Hannah because of her inability to have children. Of course her husband Elkanah was nowhere to be found and did not stop the bitterness and squabbling. Hannah is at the temple praying when she encounters Eli. Eli speaks with her and after some back and forth, he gives a blessing for her request of having a child. Samuel is born, and out of her great faith, she presents Samuel to be raised in the Temple. Eli and his two sons do not fair very well. Israel is attacked, the Ark of the Covenant is lost and there is Samuel, ready to lead as Eli and his sons die. Hannah is a striking figure in the history of Israel. She puts up with a lot, but she remains faithful and God finally blesses her with a child. Samuel is there to help Israel through a very difficult time. She was faithful to God and in time, received His blessing. Remember in your own cicumstances that God is constantly at work. You may feel if He has given up on you and the situation is hopeless. It is not. God blesses the faithful. It may be a different blessing than prayed for or expected, but know that God loves you and is with you.

Mary's story-Alright, first thing first....Catholics do not worship Mary. They honor her commitment, her sacrifice and her life as the mother of Jesus Christ, but they do not worship her. That is probably one of the most widely held misconceptions about Catholicism. There are volumes that have been written about Mary. For thousands of years the church has put forth views, ideas, decrees, etc about her. For our purposes, I want to keep it simple. Mary is of course the mother of Jesus. And the other day we discussed what she probably had to go through as an unwed pregnant girl. Her famliy, friends and the townspeople probably gossiped and carried on about her. Joseph had his own stuff to contend with as well. But all in all, they made it through and had a child together and raised him to become the Savior of humanity.
There is one verse that Mary utters that shows all of her faithfulness, obedience and sacrifice at once. It's from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1 vs. 38-- 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Has God called on you lately for a BIG task? Have you been called to ministry? What are you waiting on? The world needs faithful servants to carry out God's purposes.

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