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The Virgin Mary

    This World Mission Souvenir is a five-inch statuette of the Virgin Mary, purchased at a second-hand shop in Lima, Peru. Its original home and how it was used – who knows? What we do know is that the Roman Catholic Church is predominant in Latin cultures, and in Roman theology the Virgin Mary plays an out-sized, unwarranted role. One false teaching about Mary is that she was sinless, the result of her own “Immaculate Conception.” 

    While we reject unscriptural notions, still we honor the Virgin Mary and her humble service to the Savior. The Christian Church customarily observes Annunciation Day each year on March 25, nine months before Christmas Day. It’s a celebration of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of the Son of God in human flesh, marking his Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning “Savior.” And she herself humbly and honestly identifies both her need for forgiveness and her trust in her son to be her Redeemer. In the words of Mary’s Song, the Magnificat, she refers to God’s promise to send the Messiah; she sang: my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . . (Luke 1). We do too!

    True God and yet a Man?
    True maid and yet a mother?
    Thought wonders how thought can
    conceive one or the other.
    (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #269)

    (The ELS relationship with sister-churches in Peru is conducted by the South America Committee of the Board for World Outreach.)

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    Steve Petersen

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