Jesus' mother gets little press in my tradition. We've chosen to focus more on Christ and his teachings, sufferings, death, and resurrection. We've chosen to focus on church, worship, service, and rational thinking. However, we have done little with other areas such as the end times, miracles today, and Mary. It's not that we don't believe the story or that we don't respect the story. We embrace the story without much press. However, we are also a people who believe in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In other words Jesus is not in front of us or behind us, but inside us. We typically talk about Jesus being in our heart. That's not a horrible way to say it actually, but what does it mean.
Sweet and Viola in Jesus Manifesto talk about implantation and impartation as the direction of someone who claims Jesus rather than just attempting to imitate him.
"The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are called to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus' presence."
And back to Mary...
Mary is the only person who truly knows what it is like to host Jesus literally in their body. She carried him for nine months. She felt him grow and strengthen. She hosted the nutrients for his body and the space for his development. She felt him roll over, stretch, and kick. She was full of Jesus' body and presence. It is no wonder that his mother never left his side on the cross.
The people of God must find what it means to host Jesus in our bodies. When we imitate Jesus we fall so short we give up trying to be like him and end up just trying to keep sight of him. When we host Christ within our bodies we are more accountable for every action, thought, word, and feeling. This isn't so we can constantly feel guilty, but so that we can always call on Jesus and rise to every occasion. While we host Jesus we are not just trying to get a feel for what it is like to be Jesus (imitation) we are bring his presence to all that we encounter (impartation). And in the end Jesus is implanted in us and while we walk this path and journey along Jesus and each of us are becoming one. One with Him. One with one another.
I wanted to end with a larger quote from the book.
"A French pastor was called to serve in a small French community. At one of the first homes he visited, the wife was away, so he could only talk with the husband. When the wife returned, she probed her husband about the nature of the new pastor's visit:
"What did he say?" she asked.
"He asked, 'Does Christ live here?" the husband replied. "He didn't really ask anything else. Just, 'Does Christ live here?"
"Well, surely you told him that we are the church's biggest supporters."
"He didn't ask that," the husband repeated. "He only asked, 'Does Christ live here?"
"Well you must have told him that we read our Bible and say our prayers every day."
"He didn't ask about that either. He only asked, 'Does Christ live here?"
"Well, did you tell him that we attend his services every Sunday and sit in the front?" the wife persisted.
"He didn't ask about that. He only wanted to know, 'Does Christ live here?"
And that's all God wants to know. -Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola p. 73-74