Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Thy will

"Let it be done to me according to your will."

The commenter on the previous post quoted Mary's response to the angel Gabriel's news that she would bear a son. That commenter, Patte, is an actor-friend from 30 years ago. She's the other "old lady" in the picture from Arsenic and Old Lace that I posted in early November. The show may have been thirty years ago, but neither one of us is yet as old as we pretended to be back in 1978.

Back to Mary--I heard those words read at the children's Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve by a young woman who knows something about how to read a story. She made Gabriel's voice strong and forceful, Mary's gentle and yielding. She read with confidence, but formed the words as if each phrase was a new discovery. But the most glorious moment in her reading was the smile that lit up her face as she said "Jesus"--"You will call his name Jesus." That smile was not Gabriel's smile. (Do angels smile?) It was her own. You knew that she knew Jesus--yes, him! You saw entire generations of Christians recognize the name of Jesus in this. And you knew that young Mary loved her baby from the moment she heard the angel pronounce his name. You knew that the world changed in that moment--not just for Mary, but for lots of other people alive then, and infinitely more since.

That baby--that creating Word of God made lovely, loving flesh--made it possible for Mary to say "Thy will be done," made it possible for her to trust that will through nine months of waiting and wondering and not being able to explain, through the dark night of labor, through the bearing down and the bringing forth.

It was not the faith she possessed. It was the grace of God that was shown to her-the grace of God shown to me, and shown to my young friend, the reader.

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