Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ave Maria

Hey guys,

So this morning I was listening to Ave Maria on Josh Groban's "Noel" album. Super amazing, obviously. But it got me thinking about the lyrics. I don't speak Latin, but I understand some of the words in there, and was reflecting on them this morning before the service at Emmaus. Words that pop up in there, apart from the titular 'Hail Mary,' are gratia, dominus and benedictus. Gratia is a word that provides the root for English words like grace and gratitude. Dominus tends to refer to someone in authority, a position or power (such as a Lord or clergyman). Benedictus has to do with blessings. After googling the meaning of the lyrics, I realized this song is, in some part, a prayer thanking God for the blessing and grace He poured out over Mary.

That being said, it was a really neat parallel when Keith Ganzer started his sermon this morning, found here on the Emmaus website, and, continuing his series on the Gospel of Luke, talked about the passage where Mary learns of her pregnancy. Sort of the main point of his sermon was focused around the fact that Mary was probably like 12 years old, and had such an incredible faith and commitment to God's will for her life. He emphasized the fact that it's really unfortunate that in this day and age, people seem to take a stance when it comes to young people that none of them are mature, that none of them can have truly strong relationships with God, and that none of them can commit their lives to Him until they're much older. And he used this message as a way of encouraging our congregation to encourage the kids and teens to step out in their faith and give themselves to God in powerful ways. We're obviously not asking them to get pregnant with His incarnate Son or anything, since Mary did that already, but we're asking them to show that same kind of faith and devotion.

So, while meditating on this sermon, I realized just how powerful this message is to anyone involved in Youth & Childrens' ministries. Sometimes- and I'm willing to admit I often fall into this- it's too easy to expect little of young people, because we live in a society where we don't trust them to drive a car until they're a certain age, and sometimes we don't even trust them to work until they're "old enough." But one thing we can't allow ourselves to fall into is the thought that because somebody is young, they aren't capable of committing their lives to the Lord. And it seems ridiculous to me that I would have trouble with this myself, given that I'm a pretty decent example of one of those young people who *does* sacrifice themself for His Kingdom.

So, I pray for myself, and for other youth ministers, that we would be able to encourage our students to be more like Mary in their selfless faith and willingness to commit to God's cause. I also pray that we wouldn't be blind to the truth that they're capable of this!

So, thank you, Mary, for being such a poignant reminder that young people are capable of demonstrating fantastic faith in huge situations.

Prayerfully yours,



  1. I wish this was on facebook so I could "like" this. But I really do like this!