Conversations conclude: "King!"
The Angel Speaks with Mary
We have many conversations throughout our lives - most are passing, some are memorable for their dullness but some are highlights - special occasions in which revelations happen, decisions are made and lives are forever changed.
Conversations that result in adventure of a domestic or world altering outcome. Conversations that result in new directions. Conversations that herald an opportunity that might be seized or stayed well away from.
A few years ago, we - the husband and I visited two sites in Nazareth of Mary’s home - or maybe 3…
The first was a tiny unassuming stone room with stone benches around the edges - not much to look at but pleasantly cool in the heat of the afternoon. Actually, this might have been something else entirely - but it was definitely in Nazareth and definitely contrasts with the other two...
Anyway, The second was one where a well had been constructed using green hosepipe to make sure it was full. There was a large statue of Mary - and despite photos which may seem to give evidence to the contrary, I was not rubbing Mary’s toes for luck - I was tapping them with my fingernail and discovering that the lovely statue was in fact a hollow replica in plastic…
The third is a modern and enormous building - The church of the annunciation. Huge and white with depictions of Mary from many nations. Drawn and realised with the face and body of a young woman from different nations and cultures, The building represents the nations as they look at Mary. The church is full of light and the central focus is a well, with a high high ceiling radiating beautiful light over it.
The moment when God’s messenger comes is not one to be missed. It begins a conversation which leads to an adventure of eternal proportions.
Jesus will be given the Throne of his father David - and rule over Israel & Judah
Jesus will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever - the people who were exiled and in slavery whom the Lord God has led into salvation - redemption from their captors.
The houses or churches that we looked at showed different ways of remembering that conversation. In the simplicity of Mary’s house, God’s throne was established on earth in domestic daily life.
By the well, we remember the tradition of God’s message to a young woman, dressed in a blue robe.
The glory of God’s messenger, the scope of his reign, the majesty of his rule as King of nations - heaven meeting earth in beauty and majesty.
Now, the story - is one where due reverence must be given… We visited these buildings on a scorching hot day in May and - despite the many, many, MANY times I had told my group of to wear respectful clothes which came to their knees - two of our number were wearing short shorts…
And they weren’t allowed in. It was not respectful. It was too casual.
One ended up wearing a ladies’ scarf as a skirt - which apparently was better - I presume because his knees were covered… The other was left to walk the market where eventually, he picked up a sarong and was able to join the rest of the group.
The story is about readiness to receive.
Mary was able to hear the angel’s message and respond well - with thoughtful questions and a considered answer. She was no pushover, but wanted the facts. Then she was willing and even excited to be the mother of the King of Kings.
When we listen well to the messages God brings, we are able to be ready to receive his Good News in a way that will challenge and change our lives forever. The baby whom Mary would expect was King of the People and King of all the Peoples.
That includes us today. We are part of Abraham’s legacy. Included in the people whom Jesus would rule over.
The annunciation is a message that OUR King is on his way.
Will we listen to that and be prepared or will we ignore the information, the encouragement and the instruction and be kept outside, wandering because we weren’t open to the obedience required to receive our King?
He is King of the ordinary and simple places
King of the places doing their best to get it right
King of the soaring and majestic places that represent the nations.
But as he rules forever, that rule includes and embraced us. Every one of us. Will we proclaim him King over our lives too?