Our season of anticipation and preparation during this advent season is nearly over. The promise of these four weeks, the coming of our Lord and Savior, will soon be reaching its fulfillment.
Luke’s Gospel this weekend in the Annunciation is filled with good news. Elizabeth, in her advanced age like Sarah of old, is going to have a child. He will be John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. Then there is another announcement. Mary, cousin of Elizabeth, is going to give birth to the Messiah. And what extraordinary circumstances. The angel Gabriel is commissioned to Nazareth to a young woman named Mary who is engaged to a man named Joseph. The angel tells Mary that she is to have a son whom she will name Jesus. This puzzles Mary since she is, as yet, unmarried and is a virgin. Gabriel explains the child will be conceived by the Holy Spirit and will be the Son of God. Mary’s response is beautiful and simplistic. “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”
What God wanted from Mary was her consent, her willingness. God needed Mary’s consent to accomplish the incarnation. Has it ever occurred to you that God might need us? We need God in a million ways. Why does he need us? Throughout the biblical history the pattern of God’s redemptive work is to use human instruments to accomplish his purposes. In the garden of Eden, God established humankind in a stewardship role. They were to oversee and care for the earth. With Abraham, God made a covenant, a relationship of mutuality and interdependence. God chose to be dependent on us for the accomplishment of His will. God has ceded a great power to us: the power to frustrate and block God’s will. God needs us, our consent, our willing response.
Mary’s response to accept the invitation to bear the Son of God is the model for us to accept God’s invitation to bear Christ to one another. The best gift we can give to God is the same one that Mary expressed. “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”
Love, Peace, Joy,