Daniel Carroll, a seminary professor who was one of the greatest influencers of the trajectory of my ministry in the area of justice and mercy, once asked me if I had developed a Maryology (Mariology). I said no and then quickly side stepped the issue. To a Protestant, Mary was a fixture of Catholic lore surrounded by tradition and theology that had elevated her from the mother of Jesus to holy sainthood. Her vocation was expanded beyond the gospel story to give her stature as mediatrix and her virginity maintained through divine biology. I had given no thought or study the reality or basis of these beliefs and had dismissed the development of a Mariology as unnecessary to the pastoral care of my congregation. Now, several years later, I must once again credit Dr. Carroll as being prescient about the things that can shape one’s ministry.
As I reread McKnight’s The Real Mary, I am spending much more time meditating on the ministry of Mary. In his introductory chapter he gives a satisfying reason for all of us to consider Mary in a new light.
” Because while Mary’s story is that of an ordinary woman, it (is) also the story of a woman with an extraordinary vocation (being mother to the Messiah) who learned to follow this Messiah Jesus through the ordinary struggles that humans face. In this sense, Mary represents each of us– both you and me– in our call to follow Jesus.”
A new look at Mary is in order. Let’s put aside the divisive issues for now and give her renewed meditation. I’m going to track along with Scot’s book as an organizing tool; if you’ve read the book I’d love to hear from you as we give the mother of the Lord a second look.