I listened to a wonderful women’s choir this morning at First Baptist, Richmond. I don’t believe I’ve heard them before. I’m sure I have but today was simply breathtaking. They sung, “How Far Is It to Bethlehem?” I couldn’t help but think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Can you imagine the total humiliation she went through as she carried this child proclaimed to be the Son of God? I know Joseph did with the guys. Every right to go away, Joseph decided to stay and be with Mary, to raise Jesus in the best possible home.
O Mary, dear Mary. You are humbled. How humbled did she have to be? I can’t imagine. I can only relate in the sense of accepting a call to ministry. What I do is in no way related but to accept God’s call to carry His Spirit, His love, His Life, and carry it into the world is a humbling experience. Then there is the out of the realm of human possibility that Mary can accept this gift, to carry this precious child, God. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) And after some question, she accepted the burden and the gift with humility, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Considering what could come in line of who she was, who God was and who this child was to become, what in the world was Mary thinking? How many of us would do that?
Women are a very important part to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and today’s music by the choir just put the exclamation point on this piece. I don’t know how many of the choir members are mothers. I don’t know how many are single, divorced, widowed. I don’t know how many are not able to have children. What I do know is they came together to share this piece that spoke mountains to the beauty of what is to come.
Mary was not married at the time this angel came to her and shared the news that God found favor with her. I wonder if she was married, if God would have chosen her. I wonder if she couldn’t have children, if God would have chosen her. I know, that second part sounds a little strange however I can’t help but think about it. I wonder if all the wonderful mommy and daddy families accepted her into the club even though she was “odd”. There is a lot to the scriptures that we don’t see, that we don’t know and we don’t have. I can speculate and piece together my own interpretation of scripture that everybody else seems to do, but I can’t. I don’t have the energy of frankly, the heart to do that. What I do want to do is remind folks that Mary is Mary. The imperfect humbled soul who more than likely would not have been accepted by many folks in today’s world. God accepted her though and found favor with her for who she was.
What do we (individuals, groups, Christians, churches, etc) show folks who don’t have children, spouses or families to call their own? Do we accept them, invite them and allow them to take part in today’s form of the “successful world”? Do churches welcome them with open arms and spirit? Do churches call women into ministry who don’t have families? “You can’t be a minister to families. You don’t have a family. You can’t do pre-marital counseling, you aren’t married.” The other day I was intrigued by how many people “liked” my status when I said I have a greater appreciation for mothers of toddlers, especially potty-training toddlers. I was intrigued by folks who shared how lucky I am to be “free” to go to the movies on a Wednesday afternoon. Yes, I am lucky to be able to go to the movies on a Wednesday afternoon, but I would much rather be holding the hand of my husband who could have been sitting beside me. I would much rather pick up my child from school, get the biggest hug ever, and walk home holding her hand. I’m also intrigued by people who are friends until they have families and don’t have anything in common with old friends anymore, or don’t need their friend’s help anymore because they have families. And before anybody else sends me another “Dear Abby” article, I have plenty. Thank you for sending them. Every day, I am reminded of how I don’t understand. No, I don’t understand and may never be able to. Thank you for reminding me of that every single day, and twice on Mother’s Days.
I wonder if God would have chosen Mary if she were married or already had children. I don’t know but what I do know is God blessed all the Marys, not just the married and the mothers.
Gotta go to a prayer service. Thankfully, this is the Sunday of Peace. May I find some. May we all.