The Road to Revelation

Advent 4

And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.

Luke 1:46-55

God has remained beside the people of God since the beginning. The biblical text tells us of examples of people who have heard God’s revelations, answered with a resounding (or meek) “yes!” and allowed God to do work in their life.

If we have faith and a willing spirit, God will show us the way.

For Noah, God told him to build a floating zoo and told him that he would spend the next forty days feeling seasick and wondering about God’s sense of humour in making this is reward for being righteous. When God called, Noah answered “Here I am” and a covenant with God over all the earth was revealed.

For Abram, God told him to get his wife, pack his things and go sight unseen to a land God would show him. When God called, Abraham answered “Here I am” and the work of God was revealed through his wife, Sarah, giving birth in her old age and many descendants coming from her.

For Samuel, he answered “Here I am” when God called him in the night as a child. He began a long career of speaking truth to the powers that be. He was revealed as a prophet, a messenger and a man of God.

And today we heard from Mary, when God sent an angel to tell her that she was going to give birth to a child, a baby boy whose name was Jesus, she said, “Here I am.” I’m sure Mary was full of many different emotions about this new revelation in her life.

She was not in a safe, happy situation. She is an unwed teenage mother to be. In the biblical text, we are told that Mary was “much perplexed” by the words of the angel to her. She “pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” After an explanation, Mary responds with those beautiful words, “Here am I”, the servant of the Lord.” As we read into the Magnificat, we see Mary is full of joy, allowing the revelation of God to be present in her life through her unborn child.

If we have faith and a willing spirit, God will show us the way.

How to respond to revelations in our own life

Like Mary, we have been called to be a church where the Spirit brings much fruitfulness and life. Like the angel telling Mary that her womb would bring the fruitfulness of saving grace for all humankind, so have we as a church been called the deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. God desires our joyful response to this invitation to be “Here I am.”

Also like Mary, God’s abundance and plans does not come through things that are easy and full of pleasure. Our prayers are often filled with calls for an easy life- we think that blessings from God are equal to having an easy time, a good time. In reality, (and similarly to Mary’s story) God’s favour may have been revealed in things that were desperately, desperately hard. We, like Mary, are strengthened by looking at these things in our life and saying “Here I am, Lord.”

God does not force plans on us. God has given us the freedom of choice. The freedom of choice to turn from things that may be hard and go the easy path. But as we look around our world around us and see the hurting people, the hard conversations we need to have, and the resources that we are given, we are given the choice to turn back the other way or turn to God and say, “Here I am.” God offers us a chance to be a part of the good work that God is doing in the world.

If we have faith and a willing spirit, God will show us the way.

When we present ourselves as God’s servants and are open to hearing what it is God asks of us, we will take our places in a long line of faithful people who have done just that. Along with Abraham, Samuel, Noah and Mary. We make ourselves ready for the adventures God has in store for us, for the work God needs us to do, and the work God has designed us to do. We make ourselves ready for the things that God will reveal in our lives.

As we are preparing ourselves for the journey along this road towards Christmas, this Sunday brings us joy- joy knowing that we are given the invitation to answer’s God’s call of bringing love, hope, joy and peace to the earth. What is God revealing to you? Where in your life can you reach out and say, “Here am I, Lord?”

May you find those spots, may you reach out, and may you sing a wonderful song of Joy to God.