Advent 4, Luke 1.26-38, 2Samuel 7.1-11,16, Canticle 18a
I speak to you in the name of God, Creator, Word and Spirit. AMEN.
This morning in the Gospel, the Canticle and in the reading from 2 Samuel, God draws our attention to God’s interaction with us, and invites us to participate with God in the life of the world.
In the Gospel, Mary is visited by the God’s messenger or angel, Gabriel. He approaches her with, “Greetings favoured one! The Lord is with you.” Gabriel then tells Mary that her life will be changed in an amazing way. Mary is perplexed by this greeting. Perhaps she never thought she was important enough for God would notice her.
Gabriel explains Mary will conceive, and bear a son, who will be born holy and will be called the Son of God. Gabriel tells her the child will be named Jesus!
And to prove to Mary that she can trust what she has heard, Gabriel tells her that her cousin Elizabeth, who is beyond the years considered usual for childbearing, is six months pregnant with a son!
Mary says, “Yes:” to Gabriel. Mary says, “Yes,” to God’s invitation to participate with God in the life of the world. “Here I am, the servant of the Lord;” she says, “let it be with me according to your word.”
In response to God’s invitation, Mary sings in celebration of God’s grace. Mary names and celebrates God’s transforming power on behalf of the weak and powerless.[i] “God brings down the powerful and lifts up the lowly; God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty.” God makes God’s presence known in the life of an ordinary young girl. Someone without power or influence.
In the first reading this morning, King David wants the ark of God to live in a building, a house. Since David himself has a fine house, he feels God should have one as well. The prophet, Nathan, tells David to go ahead.
However during the night, God’s word comes to the prophet. God’s says to Nathan, “since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day … I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle.” God tells Nathan to ask David, “as I, God, have moved among the people, have I ever asked any of the tribal leaders of Isreal to build me a house?”
God is present with the people. Wherever they are. God is inviting an unknown young girl to participate with God making a difference in the life of the world! And the young girl, Mary, sings in celebration!
God invites us to participate with God’s work in our lives and in the world.
The Source of all life is engaging us to shape our faith with God’s transforming love.
God, our Loving Parent, reminds us God’s offer of love is unconditional, open, accessible and available to everyone.
As we prepare to pray and then go about our day, let us be mindful how God is calling each of us to take a leap of faith, to trust God and to trust ourselves. Mary did.
Mary received Gabriel’s visit without any warning. Mary had no framework within which to consider Gabriel’s message and God’s request. Yet, Mary agreed.
God didn’t want to be stationery and static by being associated with one place. God is reminding us of God being present with us always.
As we go forward, into the unknown, may we open ourselves to the potential God offers us for new life. May we accept God’s challenge to be a place where new birth can happen. May we always be conscious that God travels with us, offering love to us with no strings attached.
May we say, “yes,” to God’s invitation this day and every day. AMEN.
[i] Brueggemann, et al, A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, 2005, p 224