Sunday, December 22, 2013

"she knew..."

"Mary did you know
that your baby boy
would give sight
to a blind man..."

"Sometimes a light surprises," one loved hymn suggests. Today was a day of surprising illumination for me.  First, I discovered Ceelo Green's breath-taking version of "Mary Did You Know?," from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's film, The Bible. But that wasn't the only light that took my breath away today.  The other will never leave me.

I love going to church. I love hearing scripture read aloud. This morning I felt like a child listening to loved stories at bedtime. As I was savoring the familiar passages from Luke -- ones that recount Mary's conception of Jesus, her run to Elisabeth's house to confirm the miracle of her cousin's pregnancy, and her "Magnificat," her song of praise -- I sensed something was missing.

I looked at the citations included in the passages being shared, and there was a gap. So, I opened the Bible lying next to me, and read:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded
the low estate of his handmaiden:

for, behold,
from henceforth all generations
shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty
hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.

And his mercy
is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.

He hath shewed strength
with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty
from their seats,
and exalted them
of low degree.

He hath filled the hungry
with good things;
and the rich
he hath sent empty away.

He hath holpen
his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;

As he spake to our fathers,
to Abraham,
and to his seed for ever..."

Oh, she knew.

This was no frightened girl. This was a wise, inspired young woman. I don't know why I'd marginalized her as timid maiden who'd been swept up in God's plan for humanity -- a human vessel for incubating the divine idea.  But that paradigm was shattered this morning. I held my breath in awe of this strong, consciously willing, inspired woman of God.

In the breadth of a heartbeat she became something more to me than she'd ever been before. Her story was no longer that of a human mother following her beloved son -- hoping for a moment of audience with him.  An over-attentive mom, eager to see him succeed.

No, she too was God-appointed.  Her's was a life-long mission -- and she knew it.  She was wise enough to be still. Prudent enough to "hold these things in her heart." She knew when to speak, and when to be silent. But she never forgot.

She was the first harbinger of salvation. Hers was the first voice to proclaim the advancing reign of humility, charity, and grace. She was the one person who was always with him, from Bethlehem to Calvary -- and was waiting at the tomb.

She not only carried his body in her womb, but his mission and his purpose in her heart. And it was she who refused to let anyone -- even Jesus himself -- forget the promise.

She was not just his livery, but his teacher. Not just his mother, but the one who knew -- and remembered. I can only imagine the lessons in courage, trust, grace, and self-surrender she taught her son.

This morning she came alive for me in a new way. And I can answer, without a shadow of a doubt, that the woman who said, "be it unto me, according to Thy word," - knew her son would give sight to a blind man, recommend charity, raise the dead, feed the hungry, exalt humility, denounce self-righteousness, and bring salvation to a waiting world.

Yes, I am completely certain that she knew.

humbly offered,


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