By MARLA WALDRON
Focus Passage But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. (Luke 1:29)
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with theHoly Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:39-42)
Learning from Mary Mary the mother of Jesus is often depicted as serene, meek, mild, and is often commended for her exemplary discipleship, her willingness to say yes to God. However, Mary’s story tells us that we may expect our encounters with the Holy to include feeling perplexed. It also reminds us that we should take “time to ponder”, and that real engagement with God can include asking some questions. Of all the questions to consider, some questions are more fruitful than others. We sometimes ask “why” questions of God; why me, why this situation. But, those questions, although natural, are less helpful and often bring us to a dead end. There are other questions though, which tend to open possibilities and new avenues for understanding, exploration, or action. Notice that Mary does not ask “why me?” She asks, “How can this be?”
Take a moment to ponder Think about the questions you most often have for God. Do you have any questions you are asking right now? If you have “why” questions, could you change them to “where,” “what,” “how,” or “to what end” questions? What are some fruitful, open questions you could ask the Holy One?
“Mary’s story tells us that our lives with God may mean a journey toward clarification. After all the pondering and questioning, Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mary shared their experiences, listened to each other, and they helped each other toward greater awareness, courage, and joy. When the Holy comes to us in the small, and the ordinary, we might need help to see it and to have faith in it. Mary and Elizabeth were spiritual community for each other,” says author Becky Bosarge.
Take a moment to consider …How is spiritual community different from other types of community? What kinds of conversations create spiritual community? Do you have a place or people with whom you can share your sacred moments and have them affirmed and even clarified, as Mary and Elizabeth did with each other?
Pray for clarity Ever-Coming One, guide me into fruitful, life-giving questions:
Where do you want to use me and my talents God?
What does God want me to do? Say? Spend my time; money on?
What good have I learned from this experience?
What unrealistic expectations have I had and how can I better manage?
How do you want me to share the light of Christ with others? Share my story? Share your love? Conduct myself in professional situations, relationships, spiritually?
What do I need to do to boost my courage to seek future opportunities to share the gospel with others?
For Further Thought Set some time aside this week and write down your answers to some of these questions. Prayerfully ponder them before the Lord. I’d love to hear how it goes so please post on our FACEBOOK page!
Prayer Lord, always you are good. Help me to see you in new ways, and to look at you differently. Teach me the lessons you are striving to instill within in. Thank you that you take every circumstance and work it around for my good when I’m looking to you. Would you allow me to see with fresh eyes all that you are in and around me. I love you Papa. Amen.
MARLA WALDRON lives in Wyoming, Ohio with her husband and three grown children. She has been a public school teacher for 34 years. She is active in mentoring new teachers, Bible study, coaching Girls on the Run, and is honored to serve in the Dented Fender Ministry.
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