What an absolutely beautiful phrase: The power of the Most High will overshadow you! It is the essence of the spiritual life; Mary shows us that. The angel comes to her and says that the power of the Most High God will overshadow her, and her response is simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me as you have said.” She recognizes that her life is not about her, but about God. He is the one writing the story, and a far bigger story than she can possibly imagine. A story in which he is the focal point—his holiness, his character, his love—and she is simply the willing recipient. We would do well to follow her lead.
For some reason, we continually try to make it all about us. We are deeply resistant to the idea of being overshadowed. And the world in which we live reinforces that resistance. Our world encourages us to never let anyone or anything overshadow us. Be heard! Be seen! Demand that those around you take notice of you! Yet the life of the Spirit encourages the direct opposite of this. Be last. Be lowest. Be least. That is the life Jesus calls us to. That is the life in which the work of the Spirit is on full display.
Mary was willing to be overshadowed. The Greek word used here is episkiazō, which means to cast shade upon, or to be enveloped in a haze of brilliance. It is the same word used to describe what happened at the Transfiguration when the disciples were enveloped by the cloud (Luke 9:34). Simply put, Mary was willing to disappear into God, to be completely enveloped by him. She was willing to give up all rights and expectations and demands for herself because, ultimately, she was the Lord’s servant—his desire, his life, and his glory was what really mattered.
What about me? Is it the same for me? Am I willing to be overshadowed by the power of the Most High? Am I willing to live the overshadowed life? Am I willing to disappear into God, that he may live his life in and through me? Thanks be to God that Mary was willing to be overshadowed. I pray that I will be as well.
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