9:00 a.m. Unified Service
10:15 a.m. Congregational Meeting
11:15 a.m. Fellowship Luncheon
3:30 p.m. Our Christmas Cantata
Followed by a Dessert Reception
ou who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.' Mary was greatly troubled at his
words and wondered
what kind of greeting this might be."
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The world has thousands of paintings of the Annunciatio
n from masters like Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Caravaggio. T
hey usually show the angel Gabriel interrupting Mary in the midst of her normal day. The Marys in the paintings sometimes look terrified and sometimes look remarkably calm at the news that they are to bear a child by the Holy Spirit.
One of my favorite versions is not covered in Renaissance purples and velvet. It is set in the suburbs, painted by American artist John Collier as a commission for a church in Texas.
His Annunciation has many of the usual elements of classical art - the grandly winged and robed Gabriel, the lily representing Mary's purity, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove sitting on the neighbor's roof.
Yet in the midst of these is a startled teenage girl, her shoes untied and her nose in a book. I think Collier captured Mary's face right at the moment where she "wondered what kind of greeting this might be."
What I love is that the painting reminds us just how young she was, just how normal. And that is precisely why Gabriel's words are an explosion of the supernatural into this young girl's world.
Imagine a normal teenage girl from your neighborhood hearing these words: "You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son... He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High... His kingdom will have no end." How could something so incredible happen to someone so normal?
Darrell Bock, in his commentary on Luke, remarks,
"Mary reflects the person whom God unexpectedly chooses to use... She brings nothing on her resumé other than her availability and willingness to serve. But those characteristics are the most basic ones anyone can offer God. So He puts her to use in His plan, taking her through a process for which she has had no training or preparation. He simply promises to be with her in the journey, and she responds by being willing to go along for the ride." (Bock 61)
This is where you and I come in. While there will only ever be
one Mary, mother of Jesus, there are many many of us, very normal people. And into our normal lives, God wants to break in and do something remarkable. He only wants our availability and willingness to serve. He wants to put us to use in His plan, even when we feel like we don't have the skills or training. He promises to be with us the whole way. All He asks is that we be willing to go along for the ride.
What do you think? Are you willing to say to the Lord, "May it be to me as you have said"? Trust me, it's going to be quite a ride!