Friday, March 22, 2019

Gospel Text for Annunciation 24 March 2019

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   I wonder how many angels God sent to whisper in people’s ears; sent to prophets and widows, soothsayers and slaves, Kings, rabbis and peasants?  I wonder how many prospects were just not listening and how many others rather preferred to keep God in God’s distant place, after all, if God shows up right here right now, we might have to step out of our shadows and recast our selves? 

And God kept sending angels whispering, “Greetings favored one. Do not be afraid. It is the deepest desire of my heart to be born of your flesh.  I long to skip and spin, strut and sing, to be holy human. Be assured,  never will I force myself upon you. Never shall I transgress your will. Give me leave to be with you and we will be whole and holy.” No one can count the number of times God whispered this plaintive plea until at last a guileless girl named Mary consented,"Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." 

Wide eyed and innocent, unjaded as a virgin, whoever would have predicted that of all the folks on earth this pubescent girl would be the one to hear the whisper of God tugging at her heart and access the audacity to affirm, “God is with me.”

What will it take for us to rescue God from imperial isolation, to eat the flesh, drink the blood and be holy human? What will it take for us to consent and affirm, God is with me? I know this is not the way the teaching tale is told in the Gospel according to Luke. What if instead of worrying about sex outside of wedlock, old women and virgin’s getting pregnant, the potency of the Holy Spirit, the whole question of extraordinary events that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws, what if we were to consent to divine presence and agency impregnating every cell and every space of our own being? What if we were to consent to being holy human?

Yes, we would have to be bold and humble as Mary… and very very careful because claiming our identity as holy human God bearers is risky business. But that is the story we are preparing for this Lent, the story of Jesus, fully human and fully divine, who pays the ultimate price for claiming his identity. But, for today it is enough to respond to God’s whisper, “Greetings favored one. The Lord IS with you,” by ever so humbly and audaciously consenting to recast ourselves as holy human.

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