“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.”
Mary’s Song, Luke Chapter 1, vv. 47,48
One of the joys of the Christmas season at our church is to see the transformation each year from ordinary worship space to glorious, decorated festive space. A volunteer team of folks gather of a morning, led by a gifted floral designer, and set about transforming with snowflakes, holly, ribbon and glitter galore. Soon there are trees of all sizes, gifts buried in ‘snow’, tinsel, garlands, wreaths, and voila!, our sanctuary is a wonder-filled space.
The room is filled with a bit of magic, where beauty lifts our spirits and adorns our praises.
When God came to Mary via the angel to announce His plan to use her (“who me?!” “yes, you”) her response was an immediate “be it unto Me, Lord.” Her next breath also reminded God who He was dealing with.
“I am only a humble servant, Lord, but I will be a handmaiden for you.”
God is in the habit of using humble folks who will say “yes” to His ask, who will let him transform ordinary to miraculous. Why? So He gets all the credit for the glory when the amazing impossible happens.
When I glance around the sanctuary on any Sunday morning, taking notice of who is lifing their voice and arms in song, I am overwhelmed at what God has done with the people I call brothers and sisters. There is a lot of amazing impossible stories these folks on my right and left could tell.
We are a down-to-earth group, a slice of every day America. A room full of people foolish enough to believe in the same Saviour whose care binds us together. There are men and women of all ages, all colors, all sizes who can share about their ‘yes’ to God’s ask, their “Be it unto me” that led to wonders. No, that led to miracles.
There are no lowly shepherds here (this is church in the ‘burbs, after all), no servant girls, per se. But we long to be–need to be–a waiting and watching people. And while we wait and watch, we walk together. Through divorce and death, healing from and dealing with cancer, recovering from loss, renewing our faith, hanging on by a thread.
We are car mechanics and Sudanese refugees, wheelchair-bound and learning disabled. We are just getting by, just getting settled, just trying to get well.
And our God loves that.
He loves K back up front with the worship team, her bass line filling the stage, the worship inside spilling through the simple façade of a flannel shirt, skater shoes and baggie pants. She loves Jesus with all her heart and is grateful to be here. “It’s good to be back,” she told me a few weeks ago, “That other church was okay, but I wanted to come worship here. I knew they’d welcome me.”
When Mary visited (“hurried”) to see her Aunt Elizabeth, she shared the astonishing news of what had been promised.
Her declaration was not words of what would be done in the future….the birth of her son Jesus nine months hence, but what God had ALREADYaccomplished. The promise of power and glory was a done deal.
51 “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful.”
Luke, Chapter 1
Transformation, change, healing–they don’t often come with the suddenness we would like, the instantaneous “wow! Look at that” of a bursting-at-the-seams Christmas-filled sanctuary.
No, it is more of a lifetime of yesses, staying hungry knowing God will fill us, falling forward because He will lift us up. Lifting our arms towards the Father who said, when He was sending His son to save us–salvation is not only coming, it is HERE.
Glory to God in the highest!~~~~~~