It looks like Gabriel, far from assuming the power in the relationship, approaches on bended knee. The angel is the supplicant, the suitor, the one approaching in humility. God’s Messenger does not assume that his news is going to be received as good news. Indeed, he seems poised more as someone posing a question – a difficult one at that.
‘Here I am’ – hineni in Hebrew – is the response of the prophets when called by God. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah all responded with this word, this phrase in English – Here I am. Hineni is said with with an implication for service, so not just ‘here I am’ but ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ – the words as spoken by Mary. May we see her as one in a long line of God’s servants who have courageously given over the lives to the furthering of God’s realm. And may that sacred scowl remind us that we have agency in our service to God.
This Sunday is the 2nd in Advent. We will continue with our theme of Angels Among Us – the messengers of hope, peace, joy and love. God’s messengers greet us in many different ways, and are prepared for the variety of our responses.
After worship we will gather for lunch and to vote on a new name for our amalgamated congregation. This is a topic close to our hearts, a significant recognition of not only our new life but of the losses along the way to this moment. When our hearts are engaged, so are our feelings. While we may recoil like Mary regarding a change, or a name that we don’t like, may we also like Mary respond ultimately with grace and a willingness to go along with God on a ride to God’s realm amongst us.
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