Journeying with Mary
Updated: Dec 24, 2021
Day 1 Today is the first day of our advent journey with Mary. This first week we will be with Mary as she is visited by the Angel of the Lord.
Any normal day An angel just appears How would you react? Luke 1:26-27 "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” Imagine the scene; one day you're going about your normal business. Perhaps you're doing the washing or making breakfast, maybe you're cleaning the house or tending the garden, or just possibly you're at work with your colleagues. It's just a normal day, nothing special or out of the ordinary. But then....... an angel of the lord appears! It sounds straightforward the way Luke says it doesn't it, the angel just appears. Just like that. No big deal. There's no mention of Mary falling over in shock, or having her mouth gaping open, or screaming and running off. She was quite clearly of a stronger constitution than me. But then that's to be expected, after all she was to become the mother of the messiah. Let's put ourselves in Mary's shoes. Imagine a point in your normal day. Me, I'm checking my emails and wondering which ones need dealing with first. What are you up to? And suddenly the angel of the Lord appears in front of you. I can imagine it now, the room would be filled with light and there'd be a person of sorts in the room. I'd definitely drop my laptop, there's no doubt about that. I would like to think that I would stay calm and that I would recognise an angel when one appeared to me. But if I'm honest I'm pretty sure that I would scream and freeze in shock. How do you think you'd react? I trust the gospels but I have to say that I suspect Mary reacted much as we would, how could she not be shocked and fearful. We will never know for sure, but one thing is sure, she didn't run away. Prayer Father as we meet Mary today we try to imagine how she would have felt when your Angel appeared to her. We thank you for her bravery and openness at that time and ask that we might be blessed with the same in our journey's of faith and love with you. Amen.
God loves you, yes you You don't need to be afraid God's with you always Luke 1:28-30 ‘The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God."’ As if it was not enough that an Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary, it then spoke in a language she understood. Greetings, you who are highly favoured Or as no doubt the angel would have said today "Hi, God loves you." Along comes an angel, not something you ever expect to see, and then they greet you as if you know each other, as if it's a totally ordinary conversation to have. If she was not overwhelmed beforehand, this certainly troubled her, as Luke makes clear. I wonder how Mary responded such that Luke would recall that she was greatly troubled and wondered what the greeting was. I'm thinking physical and emotional shock manifesting as knees weakening, words fleeing and eyes opened wide. Put yourself back in the everyday situation we thought of yesterday. I'm in my chair with my laptop on the floor and my mouth agape. I know my own reactions to shock, I loose the power of speech and go stock-still. And then the angel speaks again; "Don't be afraid, God loves you especially", or words to that effect. Me? Really? You seriously mean me? There must be a mistake. I'm nothing special, I'm just me. The thing is we each are known and loved especially by God, maybe we are not called in such a dramatic way as Mary, but we are loved just as we are. This is the focus of today, to remind ourselves that Mary had to come to terms with being chosen; and so must we. Prayer Father, help us hear your voice. Give us faith through our loneliness when you seem far away, and joy in your love when we know you are close by at our sides. Lord, we know you are always with us, let us know this inwardly in our lives and follow you wherever you lead us. Amen.
You will have a child
The impossible made real
A boy named Jesus
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus"
Today we look at the crux of Mary's calling; she will be the mother of a son. Of course that doesn't sound particularly special, especially in today's society.
But let's go back 2000 years. Mary is unmarried, a girl from a good home, betrothed to a man she will soon marry. She is a virgin, she has kept herself clean and she knows she can not be with child. Her emotions must have been all over the place.
Worry about whether she understood right.
Fear about how her family and Joseph will react.
Concern over the reaction of society, who normally shun unmarried mothers.
Add to that the pure and simple unbelievability that she is carrying a boy child and she must have been close to fainting.
And why this specific name?
Would Mary have seen the link to the prophecies of her race?
Would she have started to put two and two together?
I am sure she was a faithful servant of God and knew her scripture well, but when put in a shocking situation do any of us manage to join the dots successfully?
Let's return to our scenario.
Are you on your knees yet? I'm stuck, dumb-struck in my chair.
I know some of the impossibility she would have felt. I felt it when I came to realise that I was called into ministry. And I had none of the worries about family and societal condemnation. Imagine how Mary would have felt being told she was to have a child out of wedlock, poor Mary, she must have been scared witless.
Father as Mary would have felt fear of her family's response to such amazing news, so we worry about what society thinks of our faith. By following you we turn away from many societal norms and try to live the life you wish for us. Give us strength in the face of our uncertainty and fear and judgement of others, as you gave Mary as she faced her family with such impossible and threatening good news. Amen
God calls each of us
Precious tasks within our lives
Leads us all the way
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
As if it wasn't enough that an angel appeared, spoke and told Mary she would have a baby; now she is told that this same baby will be the greatest of all babies, God himself. I wonder if she's even taking anything in at this point. Let's look at the words themselves.
"He will be called the Son of the Most High"
Mary would have known that the Most High was referring to God. No longer was this a task, it was a mission and a half.
"The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end"
As part of a Jewish family Mary would have known, as part of her basic religious education, that the house of David was the line of royalty from which all rulers of the people of Israel came. She would have realised that this mission was to carry and birth the next King of her people. The King!
Let's take ourselves back into our own imaginings again; we are Mary, visited by an Angel, told we will have a miraculous pregnancy and now that the boy born will be the next king. This is like being told that a spaceship will fly down from the sky, land in the back garden and require us to be the translators for the entire human race.
Do you fancy that task?
How would you feel?
Father of all, you tasked Mary with the greatest task on Earth, you trusted her to carry out your precious mission and never fail along the way. We feel so humbled as we journey with Mary and are reminded that we each have our own mission. As we journey we ask for your reassurance and strength. Amen.
How do I do this?
You are never alone
Know God is with you