Seeing Mary With New Eyes

We are often so fearful of upsetting those around us that it can be difficult to find our courage.

And yet I believe God frequently calls us in ways that  require us to lose our spirit of timidity.

We admire courage in others. We are even attracted to people who can “throw caution to the wind.”

And yet, we become so overly concerned with how others see us at times that we never move forward. After all,  we don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers or make enemies.

We worry about our reputation…

fearing what people might say about us behind our back.

And even though we might hear God calling us into action…

we turn a deaf ear to his mission as we justify our peace keeping efforts.

What if our friends pull away from us?

What if our loved ones leave us when we need them the most?

The stories about the men and women we find in the pages of Bible can seem Herculean to our modern mind especially Mary who spoke directly to the Angel Gabriel.

And yet I wonder if Mary might have felt this way too..

Can you imagine the risk and courage it took Mary to say yes to God? How she must have been talked about and looked down upon?

Let us reflect with new eyes on this dramatic moment in Jesus’ story when God’s message of love came down to earth and touch the life of this humble girl.

Then we see it! And she becomes our inspiration of faith.

As Mary dares to see her future she becomes the first “Christ Bearer” to the world.  By demonstrating her faith in God’s plan for the impossible she will give birth to the light of God’s love for all mankind.

Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898, oil on canvas, 57 X 71 1/4 in, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898, oil on canvas, 57 X 71 1/4 in, Philadelphia Museum of Art

“But the angel said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the most High.”

Luke 1: 31-32

Henry Tanner takes this familiar scene of the Annunciation, and strikes a different chord in us. What is usually portrayed with beauty and mystery is now filled with bold colors and drama.

It is Mary as she is suddenly awakened to hear God’s call.

This scene, shown here mixed with bright red and yellow, creates in us a clash of emotion.  Just as God’s message of hope and light can also attract and repel when it challenges each of us to rise higher than we had ever dreamed so we might “walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

This week I wanted to share with you the different faces of Mary I see at church each week. These young women of faith are in their early spiritual formation and yet I can imagine the plans that God holds within each of these precious ones as they face their individual futures.

 I am encouraged as I see them serve communion, read scripture, play music or sing in the choir. So important to see them, to value them and to become energized by their faith as we imagine God’s plan for what some might consider impossible.

Peace be with you!

Happy Sunday:)


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