S (Scripture): Luke 1:30 The angel said [to Mary], “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
O (Observation): Mary is stunned, perplexed, unaware of why this strange, angelic visitor has come to visit. This is indeed a kairos – a holy moment in which God is speaking to Mary. This visit reveals a promise made by God to Mary and to all of humanity.
This promise brings hope. This promise reminds God’s people that God continues to make good on God’s promises. That even in the midst of uncertainty, God is present.
And yet, Mary must wait a little longer. It will be years before she has real evidence of the promise of this child’s saving grace.
For now, she accepts the Lord’s promise. She accepts this child. And she will be blessed. Yet in the end, she will see her Son’s death. She doesn’t know that now. Even if she knew of his death, she would not be able to completely perceive another promise that would come after that: the Holy Spirit.
Surprise. Consternation. Hope. Grief. Promise.
Mary’s life. Our life.
A (Application): What gives us hope this day? We have seen protests, riots, deaths of black people by white officers, confederate monuments ordered or simply torn down, a virus that silently kills and spreads…
We are a people poised for a word of hope. What happens when our hope lies with our military, our President, our own strength as individuals or a nation? We find a solution, perhaps, but only a temporary one.
Our money, our power, our strength.
These can be used for good. Yet our brokenness causes us to use these gifts of money, power and strength for our own use.
What would happen if we shared those God-given gifts? I wonder what would happen if people used those gifts for others?
We might see cures for our illnesses. We might see healing between neighbors. We might see strength in the face of natural disaster responses. I have seen these myself – I know healing is possible.
We have a lot of hope left. We have Jesus Christ, our saving grace and the giver of the Holy Spirit, by his death.
We have the Spirit to guide us into conversations that will help us to see from one another’s perspectives. To use our gifts to build us up, rather than help us to tear one another down.
We have so much hope. Let us use it for good. For the sake of the other.
P (Prayer): Gracious God, give us pause this day to consider how we will use our gifts. To help or to hinder? Amen.