A Church Under Construction [Part 3] In Her Maiden Weeds

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before him.  —1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NIV

GOD’S ELECTION IS A PECULIAR THING. He seems to favor the inglorious, the unremarkable. I am grateful. There are countless examples of this throughout Scripture. Israel is one. David is another. Anointed as a boy, it would be years before David actually ruled anything, including himself. And I won’t comment on David’s breeding rites, or his tireless quest for connubial beatitude, but you’ve got to love the guy. If he is messy, and he is, he is also glorious. If he is a man of blood, he is also a poet of the first order. If he is untamed, if he is a bit uncivilized, he is also a man after God’s own heart. The irony is delicious.

But this post is not about Israel or David. It’s about a girl. Mary of Nazareth. And not the mother of Jesus just yet, but the unsuspecting young girl from an obscure southern town, the pre-Gabriel pre-Joseph Mary. When I think about our unfinished sanctuary, especially as it is being prepared for occupancy, this is the Mary that comes to mind. If you have an eye for metaphor or for the prophetic resonance of the Word, you can trace her presence throughout Scripture.

Her shadow is everywhere.

And Mary wasn’t chosen because she was perfect or had led a perfect life. Election doesn’t work that way. We do her a disservice, I think, to assume otherwise. Indeed, it is her plainness that comforts me, that sweetens the invitation to come inside.

To this maiden church, the church in preparation, I say:

Be kind to your children. Point them to Christ, in whom alone is salvation. Teach them how to discover Jesus, to seek comfort and refuge in the very name itself. Teach them how to trust the Jesus in you.

• Do not hoard God or tangle him up in obscurities. Teach them how to listen. For he wraps his command in the tender folds of a love song. Refine the ear. Teach them how to speak to God, how to sing to God, how to ponder these things in the heart.

• Preach the Word. Be liberal with our daily bread. Do not be shy with the Scripture. Again, preach the Word. Give it first voice. Give it headship among you and the first seat of counsel.

This is how I choose to remember her—in her maiden weeds—before she is enthroned, before she is elevated beyond my reach or before access gets confused. By the way, if you read some high church Mariolatry in this post, read it again. Look at the picture above and you will see a shadow. I’m not sure I noticed it at first, but I see it now and it’s growing on me.

Part 1Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5

6 Responses to “A Church Under Construction [Part 3] In Her Maiden Weeds”

  1. Mr. Mike February 28, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    :Smiles at the figure ever standing in your shadow:~

  2. Kelly Reed February 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    This is awesome news for anyone feeling disqualified. I so love this scripture because I was not very athletic in a very athletic family and I always felt. . . like an odd ball, still do sometimes but with the verse above, I can find rest in knowing that the Father doesn’t ever make mistakes. I watched a movie this last weekend called Hugo. Great show,saw Father all the way thru it, but one line stuck out above the rest. Hugo is speaking to his friend as he is looking out over Paris from a clock tower and he said that the city is like a machine and since there are never any extra parts to a machine, that everything has a purpose, he felt that he too, even in the midst of his hectic young life, had a purpose and place in the machine. It reminded me of this verse. We all have purpose. I always felt that Mary did an excellent job showing us how to carry the indwelling Christ within. She was the shadow of what we can all walk in. :)

  3. davidteems February 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Kelly, I was also the inglorious one in our family, the runt. My older brother was the star athlete. He lettered in Varsity basketball, football, and track in the 9th grade. My mom still has two large scrapbooks of his newspaper headlines. There is no such scrapbook for the lesser light of the family. I think I compensated and saw music at seven years old as a way to compete with a gifted elder sibling. Love your comments

  4. Kelly Reed February 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Ah David, thanks be to God that you were not an athlete because you are a worshiper instead and have blessed many with your lovely singing voice and talented musical abilities. Cheers to a Father who never makes mistakes, even when we feel like He does, and how could I forget the writer, poet, lyricist? I’m sure the Father has an awesome David Teems Scrapbook just waiting for you to sit on His lap and go thru it with Him one day.

  5. Gail Hyatt March 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Beautiful, David. Your metaphors are wonderful. Your words to our maiden church are rich and important. I share them.

    These three posts have shaped how I will enter into her and how I will worship. They have shaped how I will converse with her and her Head.

    Thank you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. A Church Under Construction [Part 5] It’s not conquest she’s after | David Teems - March 20, 2013

    [...] 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part [...]

Leave a reply:

Gravatar Image