Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent Mini-Retreat, #3

The Advent Mini-Retreat continues...

Hail, space for the uncontained God
From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece VIc

In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me according to your word." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26-38 (TNIV)

For further reflection
  1. The angel advises Mary not to be afraid. What do you think were some of Mary's feelings in her conversation with the angel? How have you felt when you've become aware of a new call from God?
  2. Imagine beginning each day with the prayer "let it be with me according to your word." How might such a prayer alter the rhythm of your days?
  3. After Mary hears the news from the angel, she goes to be with Elizabeth, an older cousin. Can you think of other women who have mentored or sheltered you?
  4. What is God calling you to give birth to in this advent season?

God's 'New Things' for me come with the familiar Heartbeat -- "serve me, trust me, give it up for me."

Usually the 'New Things' are wrapped in the old and familiar. At first glance, it seems so out-of-place, so unlikely that that's really what God wants me to do. I mean, really, God? Me?

And then, if I quiet myself and listen, I hear one word:


As I read this meditation, I heard what sounded like a dumptruck rumbling down the street. Except -- it wasn't a dump truck! It was a thunderstorm, in the distance. A thunderstorm? In December?



In the middle of the journey I'm on, I am fortunate to have "Elizabeths" to turn to when I am taking some baby steps of faith. Some are cyber-friends, and some are IRL. The group here locally, M, T and D, are true sisters of the heart, and though we missed our monthly meeting this morning, I know that their ears and their prayer support are readily available to me. How like God... to not put Mary, or us, on a new path without some fellow travelers.

As to what God wants to birth out of me this Advent? Hard to say. A heart tuned to listen? A life that is more reflective of the inner peace than the outer storm? I think perhaps that's close.

And I just heard more thunder...

Quite amazing, actually, God's timing. But you knew that.



art by Henry Ossawa Tanner


Juniper said...

may you keep hearing the voice of God - in the thunder, in the voices of friends, in the YES.

Songbird said...

We had thunder just last week, not December, but still, so odd. You can't help but listen for the words behind it.

Mary Beth said...

Amen. Those are the thin places, no?