I was supposed to give this talk on Wednesday, but they have had to cancel the second school as too many of our brothers are working on the Kingdom Hall build this month. However, I feel I should do something with it, given I've written it. And practised it with Bea. My challenge was to do the talk without this full script, with just a few notes. And I had condensed it to a few notes and scriptures, but not practised it yet. But as I have never given a talk without a word for word script before I was nervous, and am quite relieved to have put it off for a month or so.
Bea leaves this afternoon. I have a sandwich and salad lunch planned for us, and we have just watched Captain B's lovely DVD of his Skomer Island shots.
Here is the talk:
IS IT PROPER TO ADDRESS PRAYERS TO MARY AS INTERCESSOR?
(Material from "Reasoning From the Scriptures", p.258 par.4 to p.259 par 1)
Study 25: Use of an Outline
Setting: 18. Explaining your belief to a non-witness relative
Sue. Hello HH, I thought I would drop by and see if you had thought any more about our discussion last week because it was lovely to have someone in the family interested in why I have become a Jehovahs's Witness
HH.Hi Sue, sorry I’m going out in a few minutes. But I don’t think we’d better talk too much more about it anyway. My mother is so shocked at your becoming a Witness, and she doesn’t want me talking to you about it. She is such a strong churchgoing Catholic you know. She was telling me that you don’t even believe in the Virgin Mary!
Sue. I wonder why she would have said that? As you know from our talk last week, we do. The Bible tells us very clearly that Jesus was born of a virgin, and it tells us why that had to be. You remember we talked about the ransom when we had that chat last week.
HH.Yes, I do remember that and I did try to explain it to mum, but she said that what she meant was that you don’t pray to Mary.
Sue. Oh, then she was quite right, we don’t. And of course I do remember from my convent childhood that we prayed to Mary a lot. We used to say the rosary – 10 Hail Marys to 1 Our Father. Do Catholics still pray like that?
HH.Yes. (I had intended to check this with a Catholic relative before giving the talk)
Sue. Then may I quickly explain to you why we don’t? You remember how Jesus taught us to pray? Reads Matthew 6:9: “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified." Do you notice who Jesus asked us to pray to?
HH. To God. To his Father. But the thing is that when we pray to Mary, we are asking God through her.
Sue. So she is your intercessor, or mediator with God? I think I remember being taught that in my faraway convent schooldays. But back then I wasn’t aware of these words of Jesus. Could you read them for me?
HH. Reads John 14:6: "Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Sue. No-one can come to the Father except through me. What do you think Jesus meant by that?
HH. Well, it is as if he is saying that we can only approach God through him.
Sue. Yes – and he underlines that here, when he says: (reads John 14:14): " If you ask anything in my name, I will do it." So clearly we are to pray to God - to Jehovah - in Jesus name. And given that is so clear, why do you suppose that Catholics are taught to pray to Mary, or in Mary’s name, as I was once?
HH. It might be because it seems easier to approach God through Mary, through a mother. Especially for us, we feel that she could understand us more, having been a woman on earth herself.
Sue. Yes, I can understand that. So I wonder if I could read you these beautiful reassuring words about Jesus at Hebrews ,16: "For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin. Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time." Jesus loves us – as he loves all his Father’s creation. And his experiences on the earth have given him an even deeper understanding and sympathy for us – for all of us. If we could get together for a cup of tea this week I’d like to show you what a tender caring God Jehovah is. He wants us to approach Him, to talk to Him. He wants to help us. But if we want him to listen to us, then mustn’t we also listen to Him? And listen when he tells us how He wants us to pray to Him?
HH. Ok Sue… why not come over for coffee tomorrow and you can explain a bit more.