December 20, 2007

Mary's "Yes"

I was with some friends and we were trying to imagine Mary's visit from the angel. We decided it was during day-to-day, like doings of laundry. The angel came in and she probably, in her excitement, threw up her hands and dropped it all!

What does it mean "favored by God?" Does it mean Mary was perfect? Who else in scripture was favored by God? Abel was, and was killed by Cain. Sarah was favored at 90. Abraham was, and was asked to sacrifice his only son. Joseph was, and was sold into slavery. Moses was, and died, trying to get to the promised land. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba found favor, yet suffered betrayal, deaths, scandals and isolation. Job lost everything. Naomi turned bitter. The Israelites wandered for 40 years.

What would Mary's "yes" mean? What the angel proposed went against the norm of Mary's expectations and dreams of what marriage, pregnancy, and then birth typically looked like. What if your daughter came home with such a story as hers - claiming she was pregnant with the Son of God, would you believe her, laugh - and wasn't that blasphemy?

I had to ask myself, considering that God does not coerce us, and gives us freedom, did Mary have a choice? Could Mary have refused? Would God have just gone to another maiden? "Yes" is a choice.

If Mary knew beforehand of Bethlehem, the stable...and then angelic hosts, shepherds, magi, flight into Egypt, children slaughtered, the visit to the temple ... even her Son's betrayal and death ... would she have said "Yes"?

Can I trust God with my life? enough to say "Yes"? Do I want to be impregnated by God's holy Word? I have said "Yes". Every time I say "Yes" the Holy Spirit impregnates me (overshadows me) and something new comes to birth in me.

"Here I am, thy servant Lord. Let it be with me according to Your word."

Mary's response to it all? A song.
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