I posted this to my blog last night, I hope ya'll like it...
What’s all this Mary nonsense about?
One of the most difficult things that Protestants have trouble understanding is the Virgin Mary. Maybe its because I have a Catholic background but I find the Virgin Mary a very comforting figure. I’m not necessarily wed to the Immaculate Conception but I’m not necessary opposed to it either. I don’t have a problem asking her to pray for me for the same reason I don’t mind asking my wife to pray for me, because I believe that she cares about me and wants what is best. Besides Mary said yes to having Jesus so she must be really important. Didn’t she have the free will to turn away from Gods task just like I have so many times but unlike me she answered Gods call and in doing so became part of the plan for our salvation.
Ok she’s important but don’t people nearly worship her don’t you?
That’s a miss understanding she doesn’t get worshipped that gets saved for God alone. That being said if we look to scripture we can see a great deal of respect shown to Mary. When we read Luke 1:26-56 we see the Archangel Gabriel show Mary a great honor when he greets her with the statement that she is, “full of grace”. Elizabeth also refers to Mary as “blessed” twice in just four verses. Finally in Luke 1 verse 48 Mary prophesies, “all generations will call me blessed”. Heck, if you’re a “Bible believing” Christian you should be referring to her as the Blessed Virgin Mary just like Catholics do.
All right so maybe we should call her “Blessed” but how can people believe she remained a virgin when scripture says he had brothers and sisters?
Well in Matt. 13:55-56 the word for brothers and sisters also meant “relatives”. In fact the same word was used in the Old Testament and is often translated as cousin. Besides there is a very telling story in the New Testament which may prove her virginity. When Jesus is on the cross he entrusts his mother to the Apostle John. If he had siblings this wouldn’t be necessary because she would already have family.
But what about James and Joseph, Simon and Judas?
Well at least two of these guys, James and Joseph are the sons of a different Mary (compare Mt 27:56 with John 19:25) it looks like Mary was a pretty common name. We can probably assume that this usage of brother points to a family relationship that doesn’t involve being blood brothers.
Also it’s probably fair to point out that the Protestant Reformers held Mary in high esteem. Luther, Calvin and Zwingli all believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity.
Can you respect and ask for Mary’s help without believing she was born without sin? Besides Romans 3:23 clearly says, “All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God”.
Heck ya you can. This is exactly what the Eastern Orthodox and some Anglicans (my Church) do in fact. Even the Catholic Church argued this until the 19th century
So why do you believe she’s without sin?
Well to begin with it was a common belief for a long time. Add to that the fact I think that having a strong female image is good for Christianity and you start to see the attraction for me. Look at it this way Mary is like the Ark of the Covenant (can you imagine if Indiana Jones went looking for the Ark and found Mary instead boy would he be surprised) she carried the Word of God just like the Old Testament Ark. That Ark was made of the purest gold then why wouldn’t she be made pure also in preparation for Jesus’ birth?
I should note that my views are not the norm for Episcopalians but they are not as strange as you may think. The Anglican Communion has a number of devotional societies to our Lady and you should check them out. What I’d like to do is create a devotional society dedicated to her that was more inclusive in nature, one that embraces all the wings of the faith liberal or conservative. Anyway these were just a few reasons I’m a mama’s boy.