We’ve reached the time of the season, Blessed Reader, when I invite you to temporarily disconnect the literal part of your internal programming. This process is called Suspending Disbelief. While Santa Claus is already packing the sleigh, let us travel from the literal to the mystical, to a part of the story, (from the Gospel Writer called Luke, Chapter 1), which makes “uncommon sense.”
Enter: Divine Love: two women and an archangel. The first woman is Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah. She is pregnant – beyond the years of possibility, believing she’d never conceive – with a son to be named John, called the Baptizer. She’s six months along when Archangel Gabriel visits her cousin, a lovely young woman named Mary.
Mary lives in Nazareth, in Galilee. She’s engaged to Joseph, a young man of upstanding family, descended from the lineage of King David. Not only is Mary surprised at Gabriel’s appearance. She’s even more perplexed when the archangel says, “Greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you. So, do not fear Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
Mary nods and smiles, wondering what this means. Although she technically hasn’t had Joseph’s formal schooling in the synagogue, she knows: When an archangel appears, something awesome is about to happen.
Gabriel tells her not to fear, which often in biblical stories isn’t as much about feeling afraid, as about being overwhelmed by a sense of awe and wonder. In that awe, Mary hears Gabriel say that she’ll conceive, in an inexplicable way, and give birth to a son she’ll name Jesus. Gabriel assures her that Jesus will receive the throne of his ancestor David and his kingdom will be called great.
Through Archangel Gabriel, the Luke Writer also shares something else significant for Mary – and for us. This Gospel writer intends his message to be for all people. So everyone will know: God blesses Mary – and by extension all of us – with unconditional, divine love, infinite compassion, and everlasting grace because that is God’s nature. God’s beneficence is a priceless gift we all receive. It’s always ours, even when we don’t completely understand it – which is often when we feel the awe.
Divine love is an immutable Law of Being. Despite what we sometimes believe, divine love isn’t a power outside ourselves. The only place where divine love truly exists is within our own hearts. When we’re fully illumined in divine love, we can heal ourselves, resolve our challenges, and possibly heal others also.
This is why Elizabeth and Mary choose – with faith and trust – to embrace divine love, even in the incomprehensible awe, without knowing how the rest of the journey would unfold. Within that awe, where she willingly suspends disbelief, Mary embraces divine love and prepares herself to give it to her unborn child. Although she doesn’t fully understand, she believes, as Archangel Gabriel says: “. . . Nothing will be impossible with God.”
So it is for us. And divine love awaits, to be born, with us and within us. It illumines our souls and, as we go forth faithfully, our world.
© 2015 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.