Daily Reading for December 14 • The Third Sunday of Advent
Lord Jesus, we know we are privileged to share
in the sufferings of those like your servant John,
for whom bold honesty led to his death.
Lead us to boldly stand for the truth
and declare the same with courage and wisdom
that comes from you.
Stand with your servants in times of crises and hardships
that they may not compromise their stand,
but continue shining like heavenly lights
in a world that is so full of darkness and sin.
Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent, in Our Modern Services of the Anglican Church of Kenya.
‘The Lord’s servant.’ Here is Mary as the Servant-Mother. Hold on to that reply and ponder it. For it may be that it gives us a clue—the clue?—to the meaning of her son’s life and death. The Servant-Mother was about to bear him who, above all others, was to be the servant of the Lord.
Who knows the influence of a mother on her unborn child? Here is a world of mystery which is still not wholly understood. But is it not possible that something of the concept of dedicated servanthood which was at the very heart of this young pregnant woman ‘got through’ to the child as yet unborn, and became an integral part in the shaping of his manhood and ministry? . . .
Mary saw, with a God-given clarity, at the moment of her greatest crisis, that servanthood lies at the very centre of the meaning of life as God intends it to be lived. Servanthood, obedience, in the great crises of life and in the little decisions of everyday, Mary saw as things of first importance. And so she doubtless taught the little boy on her lap, at her knee, through all his formative years. What greater prayer could she offer for her son than that he might grow up to be a servant of the Lord—possibly (did she glimpse it as she pondered on these things in her heart?) he might be even the servant of the Lord.
One of the greatest gifts that a mother can give to her children is not only to pray for them but, from their earliest years, to teach them to pray. We may be sure that Mary's little boy was not very old when he began to pray the prayer which his mother used when first she knew she was pregnant: ‘I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said’, or, to put it more simply and shortly, ‘Your will be done’.
From The Servant-Son: Jesus Then and Now by Donald Coggan, quoted in Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness, compiled by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson, and Rowan Williams (Oxford, 2001).