Sunday, December 4, 2011

You Say What Now?!

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; 
be it unto me according to thy word."
--Luke 1:38

I'm a laugher. I laugh at everything. Often way too loud. And often at inappropriate times. Imagine how scary I was anchoring a live newscast. I learned to literally bite my cheek to keep from laughing during some stories that struck me (and usually no one else) as hysterical.

However, I don't usually laugh in church. During today's sermon, though, I struggled to keep the giggles in.

Don't you love how alive the Bible is? I can read a passage a thousand times, and God shows me something different each time based on my circumstances.

Today's sermon was on the angel appearing to Mary to tell her she would be the mother of our Savior.

Here's the passage in Luke, just so we're all on the same page:

   "28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
   29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
   30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
   31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
   32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
   33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
   34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
   35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
   36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
   37For with God nothing shall be impossible.
   38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."

Now read it again, and imagine yourself as Mary. Take your time. I'll wait.

Finished? Are you laughing? No? Maybe it's just me.

Here's what I saw in my head as we studied the passage above:

I'm 14 years old, teased bangs, sipping a Dr. Pepper. A majestic angel interrupts me as I listen to my DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince cassette, trying to memorize all the words to "Summertime." Out of respect, I turn off my cassette.

The angel tells me I'm going to be a mommy. And not just any mommy. A mommy to the Son of God. So I roll my eyes and say something like, "Yeah, right. I'm not even allowed to date."

And the angel says something like, "The Holy Ghost is going to come upon you and put this child in your womb.

So -- picture it with me -- I say, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according thy word."


I hardly think so. I'd be more like, "You say what now?! You clearly took a wrong turn at the pearly gates. A) I'm only 14, 2) I'm not married, C) My daddy is going to kill me, and D) How am I supposed to raise the Lord Jesus Christ when I'm invited to a barbecue that's startin' at 4." (I hope you got that last reference to the Fresh Prince. I'm kinda proud of it.)

Now, I'm not sure if Scripture writers have prettied up their transcript from the event with words like "Let it be unto me." Or if Mary was truly such a priceless, faithful treasure that she accepted her role without questions. Or if God Himself was working in her heart and head as the angel spoke to her. Or if she had her Walkman in while the angel was talking, didn't hear a word and just agreed to whatever the angel said to get him off her back (which is what I would have been doing at age 14).

The contrast between myself and Mary is striking and humorous, but if forces me to look at my faith. Do I willingly accept the role God has created me for, or do I try to drown out His instructions with things that may be less difficult or more pleasant?

I've never been compared to Mary . . . and probably never will be. But that doesn't mean I can't work and pray to understand my assigned role and willingly accept the challenges and blessings that come with it.

I'm sure there will be lots to laugh about along the way.

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