Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gospel text for 4th Sunday in Advent, 21 December 2015

Luke 1:26-38        In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The 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. And 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. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then 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.
Reflection       “For nothing will be imposssible with God.” I believe the most important word in this sentence is “with.” With God. I know from time to time I “hear” this sentence as, “Nothing will be impossible FOR God.” In so doing I neatly cut myself out of the equation. Shirk any personal responsibility. It (whatever “it” is) is up to God. I play no part in “it.” But that is not what the writer of Luke’s text wrote. 
In concert with, in dwelling with, imbued with, sitting with, endowed with, acquainted with, impregnated with, this mere preposition makes all the difference because it locates us in relationshiip “with” God. “With” may also be a statement that characterizes humanity; for people with God all things are possible. I believe it is to all of the above that Mary consented when she proclaimed, “Here I am… let it be with me according to your word.” 
And there “it” is again. What is “it?” It is a simple pronoun referring to a non-gender specific person or concept previously mentioned, about to be mentioned or present in the immediate context.* With her few words in response to the Angel of God Mary consents to every manner of being in relationship with God; Mary claims her relationship by God and with God and in God from before beginningless time, eternally in the present moment. 
Oh how I long to do the same. To put down my fears and unequivocally proclaim, “Here I am God… Let it be with me according to your word.” And I gulp knowing that giving myself unequivocally to God is giving myself over to the cloud of unknowing yet,  it is giving myself to a grandeur so incomprehensible it can only be called God. 
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