Hearing God’s Call

“An angel came from God, to a town called Nazareth, to a woman whose name was Mary.” (Luke 1: 26)

I needed Christmas this year. I needed to hear the Christmas message that a light shine in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. I needed to hear that the inn was full, but God was born anyway. I needed to hear that message of Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Martin Luther once preached that he thought the greatest miracle in the Christmas story was that Mary said yes. That when the angel said, “Mary, you will give birth to a son, and your son’s kingdom will have no end,” she was perplexed by these words and troubled, yet she still said “here I am, let it be with me according to your word.” 

Traditionally the scene with Mary and the Angel is called the Annunciation. The Annunciation not just about what happened to Mary. It’s also about what happens to us. There are annunciations of one sort or another happening all the time. The Annunciation of Mary invites us to ask questions like; what messengers does God send to you? What’s the message? What is God inviting you to do, and how will you respond? What roads are opening up for you?

One way to engage scripture more deeply is to place yourself within it. Below is a paraphrase of the Annunciation from the Gospel of St. Luke. As a way to imaginatively ask yourself how is God calling you right now, you are invited to use your mind’s eye to place yourself into this annunciation.

 In the first month of 2021, a messenger was sent by God to a town in Minnesota, to me, a beloved child of God.  And the messenger said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”   But I was much perplexed by these words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The messenger said to me, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God. 

(The messenger then told Mary what God was up to. What would the messenger say to you here? What is God inviting you to be or to do?)

I said to the messenger, “How can this be, since (what are the fears we have, the roadblocks we put up?)  The messenger said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then I said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the messenger departed from me.

So, what is God up to lately in your life?  Blessings to you as we seek God’s call in this new year.