Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 21, 2012

A positive minute: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

We see the movies where the hardest of criminals have always had a closeness to their mother. We celebrate our mother’s annually at Mother’s Day with a special day just for them. We typically hold our moms in high regard.

Mothers certainly hold a special place in the human race and this week’s Gospel passage shows us a story of two mothers and the experience they are having with their pregnancies.

To be sure, when a wife tells her husband that she is expecting, there is usually a joyous time. I say usually as with some people they may say, “But now is not a good time to have a baby,” or some such statement. The truth of the matter is that for a married couple, God knows what’s best for the family.

The bottom line for we humans is, when God does something, He does it well. I am sure Zechariah and Joseph each had some thoughts and even some struggle with the two pregnancies. I am sure they had conversations with the women who shared what has happened to each of them.

As a child growing up in church Christmas time was about the only time I ever heard anything of Mary. I was told that, “We don’t worship Mary like some others do.” What I have learned since those years gone by is that I don’t know anyone that worships Mary. She is venerated in the Catholic Church, but what does venerate mean? The dictionary says this: “To regard with respect, reverence, or heartfelt deference.” My purpose in bringing this up is for us to understand the meaning of terms in the church. After all, I know many people who venerate an evangelist or a pastor. They don’t worship that individual, or, at least I hope they don’t, but they hold that religious person in high regard.

So, the next time you hear someone say, “We don’t worship Mary,” that’s good. We need to come to an understanding of following the Bible as we are told to “give honor to whom honor is due.” I am afraid that by moving away from the understanding of what is meant from this two thousand year old message of Christ and all that follows through history is causing us to “dummy-down” our understanding of what is appropriate and right for God’s people.

As the Mother of God, I hold Mary in high regard and just as I don’t forget my mother, I don’t want to forget Mary. She’s MOM and sometimes she, too, wears combat boots.

Have a Merry Christmas!

The Most Rev. Michael Layne is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 662-5154 or