Simply Mary

Luke 1:26-38

One of the adults in lectionary study made the comment this week about how it might feel to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. I've been thinking about this comment quite a bit because if we truly believe in the incarnation, of God come down among us, isn't that the point? Aren't we all supposed to experience the unlikely encounter of God in breaking into our normal everyday lives? Aren't we supposed to believe that God works even through unlikely us?

Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in seeing God in the other we forget that God resides in us as well. Like John the Baptist from the past two weeks we somehow believe we are unworthy vessels. We can be perplexed by this greeting from God into our lives, just as Mary was. After her initial shock she gets over it and accepts the angels words, that she will be the God-bearer for the world.

I think we remain perplexed though by the greeting that we are worthy God-bearers ourselves. We talk so much about recognizing God in the other do we recognize the seeds planted for us to become God-bearers ourselves. Its the same reason that the sheep and the goats are perplexed because they don't see themselves doing things for another, they just do them and in the process have born the light of Christ in another.

There's a novel by Marjorie Holmes called Two from Galilee about the courtship and dreams of Mary and Joseph. In it Mary always has these weird and bizarre encounters with God that ease the blow of the encounter with the angel. This seems to be what we think, unless we have strange encounters with God we are not God-bearers, but this is false.

There is an old Christmas story I used to read to the children about "The Cobbler and His Guest" it seems as though the origin of this story is not well known, some credit it to Tolstoy and others say it is anonymous. The cobbler is supposed to receive a special visit from God and he prepares for this visit with special things. During the course of the day three visitors come and everything special is given away. He then prays and tells God he was expecting him, but everything is gone. God then reveals to him that each visitor was him and that he did welcome God in.

I think this gives us a fair peek at what it means to be a God-bearer. It is nothing fancy or overwhelming. It is not in the complicated or special encounter we might envision. It is in the ordinary and everyday.  there is a wonderful picture of Mary's encounter with Gabriel by Henry Ossawa Tanner. the link is here:
It is simple and has its own beauty from within. This is what it means to be God-bearers. So go and be perplexed and a little unsure. Accept your own call to be God-bearers this Advent and Christmas season. Let us be the light of Christ.