Yes and No
Reflection by Rev. Gary Chapman, Bowling Green District Superintendent
How did it happen that Mary, mother of Jesus, got tamed? Domesticated? Look at the art: There she is, serene, gentle and obliging… modest, meek, humble, demure… neck bent, head tilted down. How could she sing the song she sang with that attitude and in that posture? “(God) has scattered the proud… brought down the powerful… lifted up the lowly…” This is too strong a song of defiant doxology for us to portray her as passive a vessel as we do.
Here’s the thing: In saying “yes” to God, Mary also says “no” to everything ungodly. Her song accompanies a revolution, a turning, a reversal. Hers – and God’s – is an underground movement, an insurgency, a stand against the status quo. No wonder we want to shut her up and calm her down.
Don’t succumb to that temptation. Let Advent worship this year be your rehearsal for joining this dangerous movement authored by God in flesh. Own up to the fact that true Christian worship is a profoundly subversive enterprise and that the sanctuary is our fitness club where we develop strong Christian muscles for living out our faith. At baptism, you and I joined this radical movement. May Advent this year be pregnant with the possibility that you and I will live in a way that says “yes” to God and “no” to everything that is ungodly.
Image credit: Le Breton, Jacques; Gaudin, Jean. Annunciation, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=51544 [retrieved December 16, 2011].