Opening question: What does “Blessed” mean ? The words “Bless”, “Blessed” and “Blessing”are household phrases in Christian culture,

but what does it mean to you when you hear the word or read the word “Bless?”

Discussion hint: Blessing after a sneeze

Blessing as a description of cute kids being cute

Blessing as subscription ending to an Email

Blessing as a priest

1. Mary as“Blessed by God.”In our gospel reading the word “Blessed” in ascribed by and to Mary of Nazareth several times, but in what way do you think she is “blessed?”

Discussion hints: Beatles fans

Nazareth a tin pot hamlet in the middle of nowhere and Mary a nobody.

The agent and means of God fulfilling his promise and breaking into human history.

Together with Elizabeth part of the execution of a huge plan

2. Mary “Blessed” to us? Devotion to Mary within the Christian Church varies greatly from mere acknowledgment to seeming elevation to the status of a Goddess. In Orthodox Greek tradition Mary is known by the

title “Theotokos” the God bearer. In Roman Catholic tradition she has various titles including “Mother of Mercy” and “Queen of Heaven” and in Anglo-Catholic tradition “Our Lady.”

Two questions:

Why do you think that devotion to Mary differs so much?

Discussion hints: Cinderella

The perfect mother

Exemplary pure – For some Christians the perpetual virginity of Mary is a vital belief, for other her normal family relationship in keeping an ordinary faith-filled home is what matters.

Protestant rejection

What does Mary mean to us?

Discussion hints:
Jesus’ most devoted disciple

Plunged into motherhood in a most extraordinary way.

God bearer, shame bearer and pain bearer.

Faithful widow
A faithful Jewish lady.
Mary our prayer partner
3. We are blessed by God.

, ְבּ ָר ָכ ֒ה( BLESS, BLESSINGH1388, εὐλογέω, G2328, to bestow prosperity and goodness, to worship God as good, to receive his goodness and announce it to others;

,H891, μακάριος, G3421 , ֫א ֹ ֶשׁר

the prosperity or happiness resulting from such bestowal).

The gracious character of God in giving them, and also on the identification of those who receive God’s favour

God’s blessings are frequently presented as

dependent upon man’s obedience, in contrast with cursings which result from disobedience.

The NT makes clear the relation of blessing to commandment. The Beatitudes precede the call to obedience in the Sermon on the Mount

In what way are we “blessed?”

Eph 1: 3 God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

V 4: He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

V 5: He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

Vv 6-8: God’s glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through

his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

V9: With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.

V14: Marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those

who are God’s possession— to the praise of his glory.

We are truly blessed.

Mary was chosen amongst a cast of millions

We have been chosen

We have responded, but will future generations consider us to have been “Blessed.” Our role is to impart upon those outside the Church to see what “Blessings” they are missing.

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