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“I am the servant...” (Luke 1:38)

Pastor Robert Chew

29 November 2019

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord...” was Mary’s response to the angel who announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus. We will never fully know what went through her mind at that time. We can, however, see what was in her heart.

“I am the servant.” This Christmas I hope to encourage myself to a life of servanthood. I hope it will encourage you too.

Mary in the passage in Luke didn’t do anything physically.

God sent the angel to tell her she was “favoured” (1:28). God sent. God sought her. Mary didn’t seek this encounter. It’s important for us to ask would we really seek God given the chance? Or do we have well-worked routines at avoiding God?

She was “greatly troubled” (1:29) by the words of the angel. The angel had simply said, “The Lord is with you.” The angel didn’t say anything about pregnancy or virgin birth yet. We may not fully appreciate what “Immanuel” means. Doesn’t God have better things to do? Bigger things to take care of? Bigger issues to handle besides to be “with us?” Perhaps more “trouble” would do us well.

What could possibly be going through Mary’s mind when she asked, “How can this be?” (1:34). Her following statement “since I am a virgin” lead us to an easy interpretation--that she was perplexed. Is that all? Could it not be a question of deep reflection of her understanding of the mysterious divine plan? Could it not be a question to God? God, really? Is this what you want to do? Become human and subject yourself to the vulnerability of humanity? Why? Let’s give her more credit. Didn’t she try to “discern” (1:29) what the angel had said?

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (1:32-33).

I think she understood this prophecy perfectly. And based on that she finally made the commitment: “I am the servant of the Lord.” She entrusted herself to a new self, to a willingness to imagine a future beyond her present, to embrace and commit to a new identity.

I challenge myself to follow her example at this advent to be with the God who is with us.

Won’t you do the same?

Pastor Robert Chew

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