December 26, 2011

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Miracles Are Happening!

Luke 1:26–38 (NIV) 26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God." 38Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! The Lord is with you

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Do not be afraid

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! You have found favor with God

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! You will conceive and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Nothing will be impossible with God

These are the announcements from the angel Gabriel to Mary. Up until this announcement, Mary was just an ordinary young peasant woman, living in a remote village. I imagine that when she received this announcement from Gabriel, she was going about her normal daily routine, with no hint that she was destined for this role….And then, the announcement that basically says:

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Miracles are happening!!

Miracles are happening with you!

And through you!

I think that during this time of year we are in the mood for miracles, and this annunciation contains all the ingredients needed to satisfy the yearning…We have an angel appearing as if out of nowhere, and a virgin learning that she will defy nature and bear a child. To add to all of this, the angel talks about another miracle - a woman well beyond childbearing years is in the sixth month of a pregnancy. The angel is referring to Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin.


And how does it come to be that we have these miracles?….Gabriel answers this with, “Nothing will be impossible with God." These are more than announcements for Mary. These words from Gabriel are announcements for us today.

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Miracles are happening!!

Miracles are happening with you!

And through you!

I love this narrative in Luke. I love it from the first announcement:

"The Lord is with you!"

I don’t think that it is possible to hear this enough. This narrative is a reminder that we are not going at our lives alone. God planned for Jesus. God specified the circumstances preceding Jesus’ birth, and designed a plan that greatly affected Mary. Well, Gabriel’s words provide a reminder that our lives are not initiated wholly by human effort and intention. Although the details rarely are readily apparent, God takes part in the unfolding of human existence, from before the moment of our conception. God does not control our lives, but God takes part in the unfolding of our lives. And God has plans for us - plans for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope.

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! The Lord is with you!

God bursts into the earthly realm with Jesus, and God continues to break into our lives with the holy all the time. Mary was not at all anticipating this announcement to come her way. We, also, cannot anticipate the ways that God will break into human history - into our history! God’s breaking in, brings new life, AND new possibilities. As Gabriel says about Elizabeth’s own pregnancy, “nothing will be impossible with God.”

As we prepare for Christmas, I think that it is a happy time, filled with excitement and joy. However, as much of a happy time as this season is for some, I think that for many it is an especially hard time of the year, maybe even the hardest. It can be a lonely time, a financially difficult time, a time of worry and sometimes regret. And it may be tempting to imagine that the human predicament, whether we define this as the state of our warring world or the state of our broken lives, can never be healed or overturned.

Yet Luke’s gospel tells us that not only is redemption possible, it has already happened. Because of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ, Salvation has already happened! And the holy continues to break into our lives, bringing us new life, and new possibilities.

This announcement of the long-awaited birth of the Messiah also makes it clear that we do not create our own salvation, nor do we have the capacity to imagine the ways of God. Well, since we cannot imagine the ways of God, I think that when we hear God’s astonishing announcement:

Miracles are happening! Miracles are happening with you and with me!

And through you and me!

We are puzzled.


How can it be?

Miracles are happening with me, through me?

I, am a part of God’s working in the world?

Are you sure? Are you sure thats a good idea?

Does this mean more work for me?

How often do we feel unworthy, thinking that there is someone better qualified, someone more articulate, someone better trained, someone with more energy, someone with more time? We sound just like Mary, “How can this be?” I am glad that Mary’s first response was this. I think that Mary’s puzzlement grants us permission to take time to adjust to astonishing news, to question whether or not God’s astonishing promises are for real and to contemplate what it means for us. This is what is called discernment.

When Mary hears this message, her response is cautious at best. After-all, there is nothing overtly special about Mary. She is an ordinary young peasant woman, living in a remote village far from the busy religious center of Jerusalem. Yet Gabriel announces that God has found favor with her. God chooses Mary because she has nothing - she is a young girl in a society that values men and maturity. Later Mary writes a song of praise and identifies herself as lowly and poor. In other words, not one who is favored in the human realm, but God has shown favor with her.

Well, through our baptisms we are children of God, and God has found favor with you and me as well.

So what does this mean for us?

I think there is a tendency to think that leading unassuming lives in out-of-the-way places isolates us from the extraordinary. Well this theory is totally debunked by Mary’s surprise visitor. The selection of Mary to be the mother of Jesus is an occasion to encourage Christians to leave the realm of predictability and open ourselves up to the unexpected and the unimaginable - The unexpected and the unimaginable that is even possible wherever you live.

Can we believe this?

It is easy to say the words - “nothing is impossible for God” - But Do you and I actually believe that nothing is impossible for God?

Are we actually capable of letting go of all our attachments to feelings of unworthiness, to worry, to safety, to the opinions of others, to the most comfortable lives we can make for ourselves; all this in order to say with Mary, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

Mary comprehends that her life, and not only hers, but the whole world’s is about to be rearranged. She ascribes more credence to God’s vision for the human community than to naysayers who’s words suppress courage, who suppress faith.

"Here am I, the servant of the Lord;

let it be with me according to your word."

What does this mean for us as stewards of our time, our gifts and our talents?

When we see ourselves as stewards of what God has entrusted to us, how do we do things differently?

It is only when we with Mary, stop, look and listen to angels, and to the voice of the Holy Spirit, that we will be transformed able to do this.
It is only then that we are capable of the surprising, crazy, things God may be calling us to; it is only then that the Holy Spirit gets us participating in the life of God in a way that changes our lives, changes the way we use our time, our talent, our possessions, our energy.

As we are overwhelmed with awe at being loved in this way, we find ourselves caught up in doing what matters to God; our words and actions begin to overflow with gratitude that Christ has bound himself to us, inviting us and surprising us, like Mary, to bear God's fruit in the world, to bear Christ’s redeeming love to all the world.

Perhaps Mary’s words deliver God’s Christmas wish, that followers of Christ will believe that nothing is impossible with God, and invite the Holy Spirit to work through them to attain miracles.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2010 The Darwin Girls | Premium Blogger Templates & Photography Logos | PSD Design by Amuki