Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fourth Sunday In Advent 2011

The lectionary readings for today are:

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm: Luke 1:47-55 (Luke 1:46b-55 NRSV)
Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

I love the Gospel according to Luke, and while I have every intention of completing a series on this gospel at some point, I'll take a bit of what a future post may contain to mark this day.

In the society in which Mary lived, she would have been pretty much a nobody: poor, a female and unmarried. To get much lower, one would have had to have been an expendable, basically a beggar or leper. Now, she was not alone, most of society were peasants, but she would have been much more vulnerable than a married man in that class. Yet it is she who  found favor with God. Displayed for us is the thread woven throughout scripture, that God is no respecter of persons. In fact, he seems to always be turning our ideas of status upside down. Here, before Jesus, God incarnate, is conceived, the lessons he will teach on his earthly life are being taught already through a peasant Jewish girl.

When confronted with the message from the angel Gabriel, that she will bear a son, Mary asks for no sign, but for understanding. The angel Gabriel graciously gives her both, understanding in how the God most High will overshadow her and a sign in that her elderly cousin Elizabeth has conceived and will have a son.

Nothing is impossible with God, not for Mary, and not for us.

Mary places her life in God's hands.

Lord give me not a sign, but trust and understanding.

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