By Rev. Patrick Rogers, MDiv.
Bible scholars believe that when Gabriel visited Mary to reveal the news of her pregnancy, the “sixth month” was referring to Elizabeth being in the sixth month of pregnancy. Yet, I love the interpretation that the virgin Mary may have been six months pregnant when the angel Gabriel visited her. Luke shares with us that Mary was “perplexed.” The definition of perplexed is a feeling of being puzzled or completely baffled. Describing Mary as perplexed is an understatement!
It is difficult to believe that being a virgin and pregnant, Mary wasn’t perplexed. She certainly had to be frightened. She knew that if somehow she was indeed pregnant that she would be shunned by her fiancé, her family, his family, and the surrounding community. The laws in the Old Testament reveal to us that she could face punishment including being stoned to death!
If Mary was indeed in her sixth month, how could she not know or why would she be so surprised by the news? Feeling perplexed, one doesn’t “understand” what is going on around and within them. How often do we feel that ourselves today? I can quote a few episodes of that feeling! Maybe not to the degree of Mary (as me being male and pregnant would fall in the miracle category), but I, as well as everyone I know, can relate to the powerful feeling of sometimes being and feeling perplexed.
Mary questioned the angel, “How can this be?” just like we sometimes question God’s call to us. The difference with Mary is that even though she knew that her journey would be frightening and most of the world around her would overwhelm her along the way, she made the choice to say “yes” to God’s calling for her. The angel reassured her not to be afraid. What reassurance do we need for us to believe in God the way that God believes in us?
Mary reached out to others. She relied on Joseph’s belief and support. Mary reached out to her cousin Elizabeth for understanding, encouragement, and support.
The power of Mary’s story and her journey is significantly diminished if we lose sight of her humanness. Mary navigated her state of perplexion as an example to all who know her story. She relied on her faith and those who she believed in and trusted. Mary said yes to God’s divine plan within her.
During this time of “new beginnings” we are also invited to believe in God’s plan and vision that God has implanted within each one of us. We are invited to know that God’s love will overcome any obstacles that the world places in our paths. We are invited to believe in ourselves the way that God believes in us. We are invited to say yes to where God is leading us.
There is a special party starting in January 2019 and you are an invited guest. What will your RSVP be? Happy New Year!