Thursday, September 18, 2008

Theology of Pregnancy

"My soul magnifies the Lord."

Mary’s great words, the beginning of the Magnificat sung after she has received the news of her pregnancy. It would be a troubled pregnancy—trouble by the judgment of others. It is her own understanding of a theology of pregnancy. It is her words that I want to use for a theology of pregnancy. Before I start with her words, I will quickly review what the Gospel accounts have to say about the pregnancy of Mary.

Mark starts later with the public ministry of Jesus. Since I think the theologian Richard Bauckham has it correct and Mark's Gospel is based on Peter's testimony, this to be expected. Peter would have little access to the pregnancy stories of Mary.

Matthew’s tells account of the pregnancy of Mary almost completely from Joseph’s point of view. His betroth is found pregnant and the baby is not his; he will be shamed by this but loves Mary. He plans tp quietly take care of the situation. The angel appears to Joseph’s dreams and saves Jesus. Then the account moves to the sociopolitical world of King Herod. We then follow how man’s love of control and sin kills off life, in the killing of the innocents narrative.

John account is the shortest, “The Word became flesh, and lived among us.” Like all of John, small words are pregnant with rich meaning. (I couldn't resist) The power of the verse comes from the word, “became.” Jesus did not “appear,” “reveal,” or any other way of saying he just show up. Jesus became flesh in the way we all do, he became flesh through the process of pregnancy. He started as a cells dividing and forming into an embryo leading to a birth and infancy. He took on the weakness of humanity. John focus on Jesus in the pregnancy and his few words speak volumes.

Luke’s account of the Mary's pregnancy is the longest. It tells the story from the Mary's perspective and the only one of the Gospels to do so. From the angel appearing to her, her time with her cousin, Elizabeth, and her great poem of joy and love, the magnificent, we follow Mary story through her eyes. The narrative gives what Mary thinks when the angel gives her the news, and in her great song she sings about her pregnancy. She sings it when she is with Elizabeth, and while scripture is not clear whether Joseph knew or not at this point, one could easily make the case for this fact. She has visited her cousin early in her own pregnancy, and would not hav been showing yet. If Joseph does not know about the pregnancy yet, when Mary sings her song, then it show the trust she had in praising God because her future would be uncertain. More on the content of her song later.

Previous post on Theology of Pregnancy: Post I Post II Post III Post IV

1 comment:

Henry Smith said...

John focus on Jesus in the pregnancy and his few words speak volumes Lipram.He started as a cells dividing and forming into an embryo leading to a birth and infancy. He took on the weakness of humanity.