Inspired by Luke 1:26-38
“Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to you word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38 (NRSV)
What courageous words! The angel of the Lord just got through telling Mary that nothing—nothing!—is impossible with God. As proof he told her about her cousin Elizabeth who, though well past the age of childbearing, was pregnant. And Mary, knowing that submitting herself to the word of the Lord would result in her own pregnancy, despite the fact that she was a virgin, despite the fact that this could result in her being ostracized and becoming a social outcast, despite the fact that it might drive away the man to whom she was betrothed, and despite the fact that it would forever change her life and probably make things more difficult for her, accepted the task God had set before her.
Mary’s particular task was unique, but what God calls us to do is no less radical, or risky. We all live in societies that have certain values and behavioral expectations, and God calls us to sometimes live in opposition to them. Rather than pursuing wealth and status, we’re called upon to identify with the poor and downtrodden, using whatever means we have to improve the lives of all God’s people. Rather than judging others as unworthy or undesirable, we’re called upon to associate with the lowest of the low, and show love to the unlovable.
By submitting ourselves to the will of the Lord, by putting his word as our first priority, we also risk being ostracized and made social outcasts. We also risk losing people we love who just can’t understand our priorities or actions. We also risk making our lives more difficult. But we also invite the impossible, the extraordinary, the miraculous into our lives.
Mary undoubtedly experienced some difficulties with her fiancé and her community, but ultimately they did not cast her out. God spoke to her betrothed, encouraging him to stand by her, and he did. They raised God’s Son together, with the support of the community, even though the community did not know what they were participating in. Because with God, nothing is impossible.
Let us pray. God of the unexpected, with you all things are possible. Grant us the courage to submit to your will, that we may participate in your miraculous work in the world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.