Mary Said Yes

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  December 20, 2014

             In spite of overwhelming controversy, Mary said “yes.” Then, God changed the world forever.
            Mary’s controversy is nothing new. Christians have been arguing about her for some two thousand years. Some celebrate, even venerate Mary as nearly godlike herself. Some argue that she is of relatively minor significance to the story of salvation and barely acknowledge her. Some regale her virgin status and others question it. Some hold her as a trusted and faithful servant of God and some bemoan her as an unhealthy example of female submission.
            She is an essential figure in every Christmas Nativity Scene and has become a popular image in religious art, as well as popular spiritual adornment. Yet, while some treasure her image, others balk at the idea of reducing the Mother of God to an item of cheap manufacture and heavily marketed distribution or display.
            In many ways, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is many different things to many different people. Yet, in all of the raging theological, religious, and faithful arguments regarding the rightful place she holds in Christian teaching, worship, and practice, Mary’s story remains a powerful testimony of God’s word in scripture.
            People have wondered if Mary was the only one God sought out to bear the Divine Child. Scripture is silent on the topic, but the question is worth asking. Were there other women to whom the option was presented? Did they, unlike Mary, consider God’s option and subsequently turn it down? We can truly never know.
Yet, as the Biblical story unfolds, we do find this young virgin girl faced with God’s daunting request. It was bewildering and perplexing to her. Mary even questions the messenger with practical wisdom. It was impossible for her to be pregnant for she was fully aware of the fact that she had never done anything to get that way.
Mary did not get all the facts that day. It would not be until after Jesus was born that she would be informed his life would serve as a sword in her heart. It would be 30 more years before she would see her son fulfill his birthright and change the world by teaching God’s truths and subsequently facing the torrent of human rage and vile destruction of irrational fear.
What Mary did do that day was place her trust in God. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord,” she said to the heavenly messenger inviting to take part in God’s amazing plan of salvation. “Let it be with me according to your word.” With that simple affirmation of God and trust in God, Mary set into motion the greatest gift of all human history.
There is an aspect of Mary in each of us as well. Every Christian is called to trust God in spite of the obvious evidence to the contrary. Often, out of our faithful trust in God, we are faced with placing our hearts on the line to be scrutinized—even have our own hearts pierced by the swords of human fear—because of our faithful devotion to God’s plan. To that powerful call from God, Mary’s words resonate in our Bible’s, our worship, and our faithful prayer lives. Mary is here, faithfully serving, ready to let God be God and trust in the value of God’s ultimate plan.
What about the rest of us? As Christmas draws close and our lives become enmeshed in that amazing blend of the sacred with the secular that permeates the season, how willing are we to renew our pledge to truly be God’s servants and let God take over our lives in ways that may not settle well with the world around us? No matter what one may think of Mary, or believe about those who think differently regarding her, let us never forget, Mary said yes.