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. ... 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....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.
I am afraid of heights. My knees get weak, I get light headed and I start to see stars. So would you ever find me bungee jumping? I don’t think so. Yet, that is what I am hearing in Mary's response. It is like this beautiful angelic being stands beside you, ties a rope around your ankle and say, “jump’. And before you can even comprehend what is going on…your left standing there alone.
It would be easier if you could get a little angelic push.
Committing to what God wants you to do with your life can be frightening. Not because God wishes you harm, but because God wishes something better for all people and that will directly affect your life.
In this season of Advent, as we wait for the light of the world, we get glimpses of God at work among us. When a stranger smiles at me. When someone holds open a door or helps with a package. When compassionate people rise up and demand truth and fairness - for others, not just for themselves. When love is given freely to everyone, no matter who they are.
If Jesus is the light of the world (as we are told in John ch 1) and if he abides in us (John ch 15) then are we not also the light of the world? Is that what God is calling us to be?
I don’t like the feel of the rope around my ankle. Until I remember that is is my lifeline; my connection to God; my strength. You still have to take a risk. It’s not easy to say, “Do what you want with me Lord.” For me, it is still bungee jumping. But I know I don’t have to take on all the suffering and problems in this world. God will worry about the big picture and my light will shine as far as God needs it to. I just need to commit to showing up.
The question is, "What does it look like to show up?" "In what ways does my light shine in this world?"
Each Winter As the Year Grows Older
Each winter as the year grows older,
We each grow older too.
The chill sets in a little colder;
The verities we knew
Seem shaken and untrue.
When race and class cry out for treason,
When sirens call for war,
They overshout the voice of reason
And scream till we ignore
All we held dear before.
Yet I believe beyond believing,
That life can spring from death:
That growth can flower from our grieving;
That we can catch our breath
And turn transfixed by faith.
So even as the sun is turning
To journey to the north,
The living flame, in secret burning,
Can kindle on the earth
And bring God's love to birth.
O Child of ecstasy and sorrows,
O Prince of peace and pain,
Brighten today's world by tomorrow's,
Renew our lives again;
Lord Jesus, come and reign!