LET ME MAKE GREAT THE NAME OF THE LORD! – now there’s an impressive response, from a young Galilean girl, who’s just heard, she believes, the word of an angel, that she’s to conceive and bear “God with us” into the world. “May I be his handmaid“.
What yearning for brighter days lay in the heart of a prayerful girl, raised in a household that will have observed the world’s injustices with keen eye? What kind of a turning the world upside down would the young girl Mary have been dreaming about? Maybe even praying about? What measure of faith did she possess that allowed for the simple fiat – “May I be his handmaid”? Am I – a girl – to be allowed to play my part? What might that mean, now and in the future, for others hitherto “passed-over”, if each and all are to flower to their fullest divinely-given potential? Ha! – the whole world, every living thing, would be pregnant with messianic possibility!
God with us – imagine that. A harsh and demanding black and white world would be raised to new stature, with height and colour, and glory and honour, and music and praise, and unexpected non-conformity, and the push people need towards prayer, and faith and groundedness, and hope, and love. And grandeur. And – incredibly surprising – littleness, too. And the ancient and the youthful. Perspectives would be changed. God’s awe-inspiring art and incarnational creativity would the better be seen in, and through, and for, and all around every living person. A holy human family. Oppressive powers put in their place and the downtrodden raised.
Humankind and mothering, art and craftsmanship, perseverance in the ways of love and of peace – all these, equally, internationally and interfaithfully, will be “living temples to God’s glory”. Imagine the possibilities, the architecture, the shapes and sizes, the breathtakingly stunning irregularities, the angle of the morning light, in a world of living temples. Yes, yes, yes. I’m up for that – Magnificat! What Wisdom lay at the heart of this young woman? – (and she knew full well in advance, women often do, that there’d be a cost to all of this) – What Wisdom lies in the hearts of each of us, on this day of annunciation, still? What Wisdom bides her time until today’s the day. Until the time to well up, like Living Water, healing us, laughing in us, one and all, like an inundation of redeeming joy within?
Patterns from new disorder open like a rose
And old assumptions yield to new sensation;
The Stranger in the wings is waiting for his cue,
The fuse is always laid to some annunciation
from Mutations, Louis MacNeice
God with us in a baby? A Christ-baby? An anointed baby? Any baby? – Magnificat! May I be his handmaid …