Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Thoughts: The Annuciation

A girl from the middle of nowhere says "Yes" and the history of the world is changed forever!  

Lord, help me trust you like Mary did!

The Annunciation: A Meditation
Luke chapter 1, verses 26-38

Somehow, this scene is hard for me to picture.  There isn't much description.  I don't know whether they were inside or outside, or what Mary was doing when the angel arrived.  Probably housework, actually, as I suppose in that day and age just running a household took a lot of labor.  Since Mary was engaged no doubt her mother was preparing her for the day when she would be taking care of the daily tasks of her own home.

We can assume that the angel was pretty impressive, though, since the first thing he says after his greeting is to tell her not to be afraid.

Mary's question to the angel is really about her own suitableness, almost as if she is asking if he is making a mistake.  All of the grand things that this child is going to do she doesn't question at all.  She doesn't say: What about the Romans?  Or: How is he going to rule over the house of Jacob?  I guess she just trusts that God will deal with all of that.

It's also interesting when you compare the list of traits of the baby with Mary's response.  The angel says of the son, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."  Mary responds, not by claiming the sort of royalty that is implicitly offered to her, but instead by naming herself the "handmaiden."  I would think a handmaiden would be a particular kind of servant.  If she is continually at the beck and call of someone and then she would have to be particularly a humble, obedient, and patient.  She probably wouldn't be the sort of servant who could arrange to do her own tasks in the manner and time frame that she wanted to do them the way a cook or a housekeeper might be able to.  But there would also be a certain amount of intimacy, I would think, between a handmaiden and the one she served because I think a handmaiden as being constantly available, always at her mistress's side.  She would know her mistress very well, would know exactly what she would want at any given time.  You would think a servant like that would eventually become a kind of friend.  A handmaiden would be quite dependent on her employer, but she would not have to worry about what she would do or where she would go or if she would be taken care of. So it is an interesting word choice (or translation).  I wonder what it is in the original Greek.

I have always loved the verse, "Behold the handmade of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word."  There is love, trust, and submission to God's will all beautifully woven into that decision.

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