by Rachael Stelzer
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‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’ (Luke 1:38).
I wonder where Mary was and what she was doing when the heavenly messenger appeared. What was occupying her thoughts when God dropped a bomb on her life?
And, in this week that presents us with so many paradoxes, contrasts and surprises, the angel’s first words clang in our ears.
‘Greetings, favoured one. The Lord is with you.’
You know that tone of voice someone uses when they have a massive job or a difficult task, and they are trying to recruit you for it? I wonder if Mary’s ‘uh-oh’ sensor went off when God’s representative started telling her how blessed she was.
Because as Mary discovered the hard way, her blessing would involve scandal, rumour-mongering, an extended stay with her elderly pregnant relative, travelling while pregnant, giving birth away from her home, a midnight flit to escape a megalomaniac ruler and life as a refugee. And all this within the next five years of her life. And that was just the start.
And yet, in stark contrast to Zechariah, who questioned and queried to the extent that he was struck dumb until the birth of his child, Mary just asked one clarifying question and then submitted to God’s will.
She had no understanding of the role she would play in nurturing the Saviour of the world or the grief she would experience later in her life. She just knew that in this out-of-control situation, she could cling to the promise of the angel.
Can we do the same in this out-of-control situation we call life in 2021? Can we trust that the Lord is with us? Can we confidently respond to God’s call by saying, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled’?
Dear Jesus, Mary was not wise or learned – just obedient to God’s call. Help me to listen for your call and serve you in obedience. Amen.