December 16, 2013

Early Morning Mary

The church I attend has a 7:30 am chapel service every Wednesday. Although the attendance fluctuates, there can be as few as four and as many as ten. 

I have led the service a few times when the pastors were on vacation or busy. Although the church is close to 25 minutes from my house, getting up early, usually in the dark, and driving to the small chapel to begin the day with other believers is a great blessing.

I led the service this past Wednesday and will again lead next week.  My message this week was about Mary which I titled, "How Can This Be?" I commented how Mary is held as an extraordinary  example of obedience to God's word, although her first response to the angel's message about  carrying God's son was "'How can this be?"

We do not know the process Mary went through to go from her initial response, "How can this be?"  to "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen to me as you have said,, but the scripture between her two comments offers helpful advice when we too are placed in situations where our response is "How can this be?"

Throughout life we have experiences which leave us saying,"'How can this be?"--a sudden job loss, a newly diagnosed illness, an unexpected pregnancy, learning about a move when a long-awaited job has just been secured. This happened to me twice. I received job offers for positions I long desired, only to find out a few months later we were moving; or any other situations which leave us surprised, confused, distressed.

Looking at the scripture, the angel offers a few words of advice to Mary. The angel says:

1. "Don't be afraid." Mary was obviously troubled by the angel's words as are we when unexpected events happen.  Unexpected circumstances remind us things are changing. We don't initially have a new plan or direction as our regular routine is affected.Remembering the angel's words,"'Don't be afraid," may calm our hearts as we begin to deal with the unexpected.

2. "The Holy Spirit will come on you." The power of the Holy Spirit is without limit. Even when we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit provides. The companionship of the Holy Spirit carries us, until we can reach a place of peace.
3."'God's power will rest upon you"'  Knowing that God was with Mary as she worked through the astonishing news was a reminder she was not alone. We too have the same assurance that no matter what is happening in our lives, God is with us.
Mary must have absorbed the angel's words, helping her arrive at a place of acceptance and peace so she could say with confidence, "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen to me as you have said."'
The angel's words can help us  work through those moments when we say, "How can this be?"  Keep these words close throughout the year so that whatever happens we too can come before God, finding peace and acceptance.
Jacquie Reed 
Fishers, Indiana

1 comment:

  1. Kathy Logsdon Van LenteDecember 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Thank you! This is a wonderful reflection that you've shared with us.