The reading for Sunday, December 11, 2011
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1: 26-38
Connie said today in regard to this passage, "Perspective matters."
I agree. Having an eternal perspective gives one a different view of life at any age. It may not remove the fear factor for us--notice how each angelic visitation I can recall in scripture is accompanied by the 'do not be afraid' words, perhaps because we tend to startle easily in their presence--but seeing with the spirit allows us to take in a bigger picture than merely the scene our human eyes see.
An analogy that comes to mind: If we could change the aperture of our eyes, if we could alter the length of rays we see and change our ability to focus on near and far distant objects, then we might grasp the power wrapped up in perspective. Yes, it sounds super-human. It is the stuff of fantasy books for many, the idea of e-ray vision or peering through closed doors. But daily we use lenses to sharpen our focus while reading or typing or driving and to allow us to see much farther into the distance than our eye can see alone. Why then do we all not apply the lens of the spirit which aids in seeing what we cannot otherwise see clearly? That is what the spirit is made for. May we learn to see with eyes of the spirit.
May the Spirit of God touch our lives with truth and beauty through the unexpected events of the coming week.
May God grant wisdom liberally--superhuman insight that enables us to see beyond our circumstances.
And when we encounter those moments when we, like Mary, can only ask How can this be?...How can I live with this? ...How can we move on beyond this crushing loss of all that we had planned? may we, too, yearn to see a bigger picture. It may seem like looking through a glass darkly for we are not made merely for the limitations our bodies experience in this life, but one day, we shall see clearly and know fully, even as we are fully known.
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Cor 13:12
We expect God's divine intervention while we choose not to look at the things that are seen but at the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are subject to change. 2 Cor 4:18
Thanks be to God. Let it be according to your will.
Nativity Facade of La Sagrada de Familia, Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona.