25 March 2017

Luke 1:26-38

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” (v. 37)

Psalm: Psalm 40


It's lovely that, having begun our week with Joseph, we find ourselves ending it with Mary - bookending our journey through Corinthians with reminders of the inconvenience, messiness and reality of the incarnation.

What expectations do you have - for what might happen to you tomorrow? Next week? Next year? I think it's fair to say that Mary was not really expecting this. She probably had a fair idea of what lay ahead for her: engaged to a good man, there would be a number of rituals and preparations to make before she was truly wedded to Joseph and they would live together. And, yes, hopefully babies would come along - at the right time. You're supposed to do these things in a certain order, right?!

So where does it all go wrong? At what point does Mary's life veer off on a path she neither planned for nor desired? I think it's when she says, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" (v. 38). Though it appears that the angel is telling - rather than asking - Mary what will happen, her consent is utterly crucial. Wouldn't it be lovely if saying 'yes' to God was the moment life became easier, more straightforward? Not so for Mary. Her 'yes' led her on a challenging - and ultimately devastating - journey, though I'm sure there was much blessing along the way too. The angel's sketchy map of the future really didn't cover the fullness of what lay ahead for Mary, her husband and child. But she trusted God, she submitted to God's will - and offered herself for the blessing of others.

A young woman who never should have been pregnant, and who had no idea how to be a parent - chosen by the God of all wisdom. It's not the way I would have done it, that's for sure. But God takes our expectations - and blows them away with the reality of what God's own love and presence can do.

To Ponder

  • Do you believe that "nothing will be impossible with God"? What 'impossible' people or situations would you like to offer to God in prayer?
  • What do you expect from God?
  • And what do you think God might expect from you? 

Bible notes author

Anna Drew

Anna Drew is Director of Communications for the Diocese of Canterbury. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Daily Service and Prayer for the Day and a freelance writer on faith issues.