Friday, March 25 2022 | Luke 1:26-38
Lent always makes me think of my frailty. The reminder is everywhere: in the ashes rubbed on my forehead; in the haunting words of promise and exhortation that attend them; in my ever-more-earnest promises to keep the fast of this year’s choosing, and in the ever-more humiliating discovery that I do not keep my promises. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak!
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. The Scriptures put before us a woman whose vocation was to bear the incarnate God in her body and deliver him to the world, and who took up this vocation with courage and faith. In many ways she is a picture of anything but frailty. Today we listen to her “yes,” her unbelievable acceptance of this most bizarre, most shocking declaration—that she, a virgin, unmarried and unprotected, would soon become pregnant through no ordinary means, and that the baby would be the Son of God.
Who of us upon hearing such a thing would respond as Mary responded? “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And yet the Scripture invites us in all our frailty today to say our “yes” alongside Mary, to accept the shocking invitation of God to be bearers of Christ Jesus to the world.
The good news is that God’s invitation to Mary, and to us, comes with a promise: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35). God does not ask us to do the impossible. He asks us to receive the impossible. Mary’s flesh was no different from ours on that day the angel Gabriel appeared to her, and she had her own frailty, no doubt. With ordinary faith and the extraordinary courage that always attends it, Mary consented to become a conduit of God’s impossible grace to the world.
In Lent we repent of our impulse to say “no” to God. We grieve not so much the frailty of our flesh as the hardness of our hearts. We confess our lack of faith: that we do not trust the power of the Most High, that we do not count on the provision of God’s strength.
And today, with Mary as our example and witness, we hope for a different future, one in which “we delight in [God’s] will and walk in [God’s] ways.” This kind of life is possible, brothers and sisters, with the help of the Almighty —“for nothing will be impossible with God” (v. 37).
Deanna is an aspirant for Holy Orders and has been a member of Trinity Cathedral for two and a half years. She loves being outside, writing, and listening to Jane Auten’s novels on an endless loop.