Monday, December 1, 2008


Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

                        Luke 1.45 (KJV)


Of all the coming-out scenarios I know—meaning any significant life turn based on self-disclosure—one has yet to rival Mary’s story. Here is a lovely, small-town girl engaged to a modest tradesman, probably expecting no more from her future than an ordinary life as a wife and mother. Then—WHAM!—an angel appears. In about 10 minutes’ time, Mary learns things about herself she never imagined. For starters, she’ll soon become pregnant. That knocks her into a tailspin and each new bombshell compounds her problems.

We think accepting our sexuality and asking family and friends to do likewise is scary? After thinking of Mary, let’s think again. At least we gradually discover over time who we are. Mary’s news hit her like a ton of bricks. It was her job to deal with it—its physical and emotional challenges, explaining it to Joseph and her family, inevitable shame in her neighborhood, and worst of all, comprehending the whole thing. If ever someone was entitled to ask, “What have I done to deserve this?” it was Mary. But listen to her response: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1.38)

Scene Changes

Each of us understandably likes to view his/her life as its own unique drama. We see ourselves in lead roles we were born to play. And this is so. But our story also intersects with the spectacle of creation, in which we’re one in a cast of billions. Now, we’re supporting characters created and called to avail our talent to ensure God’s glory is revealed through us. This is precisely how Mary saw it. With stunning perception, she saw the scene had changed. Although His story suddenly overshadowed hers, she recognized God chose her for a reason. She set aside her expectations in life to serve His purpose.

A God Who Performs

Any time God asks us to step into His sphere, we’re apt to have second doubts. It’s hard to envision the full scope of His plan and feel comfortable about what we’re supposed to do. This apparently happened to Mary. Luke says she hurried off to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who also was pregnant. Mary barely got through the door before God’s Spirit spoke through Elizabeth, saying because she believed there would be a performance of all she’d been told.

My former pastor repeatedly cited this passage, reminding us we serve a God Who performs. When He says it, He means it—whatever “it” is. Yes, it is so, we say, knowing our story nestles inside a far greater one. Each of us plays a part. We all serve a purpose. And God performs.

Originally posted August 22, 2008.

The Annunciation (Henry Ossawa Tanner: 1898)

(Tomorrow: Who’s Zooming Who?)

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