Monday, September 9, 2013

open

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He 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 father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
     And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
     And the angel answered 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 called holy—the Son of God.  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)


Don't you wish sometimes that you could've been a fly on the wall as these great stories of Scripture unfold?  Especially one like this.  I would have loved to see the faces of Mary and Gabriel as this exchange takes place.  I would have loved to hear the words; to hear how they were spoken, with what tone, and care, and volume.  And I would have loved to see how those words were received.  What did it look like that Mary was greatly troubled (disturbed) by the words, even in the midst of being filled with wonder about what they might mean and how they would be fulfilled.  I'm guessing that she was incredibly excited about the amazing thing God was getting ready to do, but troubled by what all it might mean for her life, her heart, and her family.  I get it.  I've felt like that before.  I've sensed God's invitation to do an incredibly intimate work deep within me and been so excited about it, but afraid of it all at the same time.  I mean the Holy Spirit was going to come upon her, the Most High God was going to overshadow her; and the result would be that God himself would somehow be conceived within her.

And you have to love Mary's response.  After all, God was asking something that was incredibly demanding of her...total openness.  She was to completely hold herself open to Him; totally vulnerable, totally willing, totally receptive to whatever He might choose to do.  It is a frightening posture to hold, unless the one that you hold it for is utterly loving and trustworthy.  Then, and only then, are we able to respond as she did: Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

I have a suspicion that the Spirit of the Most High would like to do something unspeakably intimate within each of us as well; something that will fill us with joyful wonder and greatly disturb us all at the same time.  And if we have the courage to hold ourselves open to Him; vulnerable, receptive, and willing.  If we have the courage to answer Him with the words of Mary: "I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."  Then He will come upon us, and overshadow us, and birth Himself in us in an indescribably intimate way--which, in fact, is the deepest desire of our hearts.  Thanks be to God!

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