Saturday, 5 September 2009

A Woman's Faith

Opening Prayer
Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Luke 1:45

Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
believed every word would come true!

‘Who do you trust?’

You would imagine that for God to decide to come to us as a human being, He must have had something in mind; must have had a Grand Plan. Yet, when you consider the circumstances of Jesus’ arrival; surely, even now, we must wonder why God decided to do it this way.

Why such a people? How long had Israel belonged to God yet look how low they had come – had He not been paying attention?
Why such a place? The Galilee was a place you ‘overlooked’ if you had any sense. Perhaps He hadn’t been paying attention.
Why such a person? To have had less rank in the community would have been difficult, although Mary managed that by her ‘questionable’ condition. You’d imagine He didn’t want the attention.

Even though the writings are there, the archaeologists; the cultural historians, the social scientists all tell us how poor, how unremarkable, how ‘bottom of the barrel’ the life of Jesus was – at the time of the life of Jesus; something in us cannot believe.
We prefer the Victorian hymns, the artist’s impression of a peaceful, contented family surrounded by the comforts of home to the reality of a couple and their child living as refugees in a foreign land; as a widow and child on the outskirts of the community.
We prefer the gliding image of Jesus and his disciples cheerily walking the highways and by-ways of a garden Palestine rather than the rag-tag vagabonds relying on charity and often hiding from the local Temple or Roman officials that they had managed to upset.

We prefer the image of a Mary blissfully accepting her motherhood and then the miracle of it preserving her in child-like beauty all her life and into her death. But
I wonder if that sort of Mary would have been able to deal with the world that she brought that life into. Because there was something about this Grand Plan that meant that no-one in the world would ever be able to say to God ‘You don’t understand’.

In his humanity, God became poorer, more despised, more alone, more rejected that anyone had ever been.

‘The Son of Man has no place to call home’ and probably neither did his mother. Mary’s eternal beauty came from a faith, a trust in a God that did not promise to change her life, did not promise her gold or wealth; did not promise to take her ‘away from all this’ in fact did not promise her anything except a son whose Kingdom would never end. And the miracle isn’t that she believed it at the conception but that she continued to believe it all of her life.

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’

I was telling you about my nan last week – due to being an older mother I never knew my nan as anything but old – nearly sixty when I was born – but she was always beautiful right until she died at eighty-nine. Beautiful blue eyes and pure white blond wavy hair and a heart that still worried about the old people and young children, that remember birthdays and anniversaries, that wondered if I was warm enough and insisted that I had an apple to take home after every visit.

That is beauty, not the hanging onto to girlish, childhood fantasies and images; not wanting to always be young again; but to be full of life and love and experience rather than criticism, envy and regret.

Getting older does not automatically mean getting wiser – that is up to you.

We are born with the promise that God has made us – that we are precious in His sight, that we are Her works of art, that we are worth more than a million sparrows. It is called upon us to have the faith to believe it and to live it.

To follow Mary’s example and believe it even when it doesn’t seem possible, when it seems like a dream and even when life seems like a nightmare.

You get no proof with faith

Closing Prayer
May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.Amen


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