Our Yes to God!
Are you ready for a Miracle?
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Hail, O favoured one, the Lord is with you! The Holy Spirit will come upon you. Luke 1.28, 35
Mary’s Song, Holy Day, 15 August
From For All Saints (FAS): Anglican Church of Canada Publication, page 246
“Mary is honored because she was the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God — and because the Gospels testify that she was a virgin when she conceived and gave him birth. Their witness to such a wonder has generated much of the devotion that is paid to her. But it is not the only reason, for the evangelists also portray her as the archetype of all the people of God and the person who leads their praises of the Almighty. In Luke’s account of the Annunciation, Mary was perplexed by the meaning of God’s word to her and yet chose to accept the wondrous service which it ordained her to accomplish. After the birth of her son, Mary continued to be puzzled whenever she met with a further sign of his divine origin or with hints of what he was meant to do. But she was always patient in her puzzlement; in Luke’s words, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The fruit of her pondering may be reflected in the fact that all the evangelists say that she followed her son from Galilee to Jerusalem and stood with the small company of women who witnessed his crucifixion. The Book of Acts adds that, after the resurrection, she shared in the disciples’ community of prayer and watched with them for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. An ancient tradition testifies that Mary was taken up in glory as soon as she died, and Christian devotion has never begrudged her the place of highest honor in the presence of God. It has delighted in the conviction that she who responded to God’s perplexing call with praise must already enjoy the reward of faith — and that she who gave the Son of God his human life has received all the fullness of the eternal life which he was born to give.”
Mary’s response to hearing of the pending birth of her son is to sing the song that is today’s Gospel text. This song, the traditional canticle of Evening Prayer services for countless years, has captured the imaginations of myriad musicians, poets, and storytellers throughout Christian history. With its images of reversals and the surprising “upside down” way of God’s justice, it has been especially favored of those who are oppressed.
What does it say to us today? Does it hold an understanding of the promise of God yet unfulfilled? Does it hold a word of warning to those of us who are “mighty” and “wealthy” and “proud”? Does it hold out hope for a world already redeemed, but not yet fully restored?
We are not hearing a lot from Joseph at this point in the story. It is clear though and conformed elsewhere in the scripture is that he too says yes to God.
Matthew 1: “But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Rather than doing what the world, religious and otherwise would direct him to do as a “spurned’ man he reacts completely upside down from that expectation and stays with her, supports, protects and loves her and the soon to born child, Jesus.
There are clear messages for us as individuals, as adopted children of God, as part of the Parish Family of the Parish of Central Saanich, St. Mary and St. Stephen.
1) Fear not for God is in charge! (Recall from last week there is a God and you are not it and I am not it!). Let go and let God.
2) . God is more of an artist than a mathematician --- things rarely add up. Our lives are full of leaps of faith.
3) Christian faith differs from culture. Often in life we will think or even celebrate falls from on high, whereas in God’s Kingdom we see the opposite Jesus falls into death yet overcomes, rises again and lives and brings life and life in its fullest possible form! It is infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. This is what we celebrate!
Elsewhere in scripture we hear what God expects of us. We hear a part of it from Isaiah today and also from the prophet Micah who says in Micah 6: 8:
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
To do justice and to love kindness is linked to the God I walk with and will always move closer to.
Each of us should try to live in a way that will make the truth of Jesus’ saving love real to the people with whom, and among whom, we live.
-Br. David Allen
Society of Saint John the Evangelist