Mary, in the annunciation, becomes the patroness, of all who are called by God to do impossible things. Of those who become embarrassments to their family and communities on behalf of God. She reminds us that the godly thing isn’t always the prim-and-proper thing. Sometimes when we answer God’s call, we become a laughingstock. Or, even worse, persecuted.Mary took a risk on God. She risked her status, her dignity, her "normal life" in order to live out God's call. And in Luke's gospel, she articulates the depth of her faith in one simple statement: "Nothing is impossible with God."
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about "impossible things," and how they are such a part of our daily thoughts and feelings. "Impossible things" are
- the questions about our ordinary lives for which we have no answers: why we fall ill or why loved ones suffer; why we can manage big accounts and complicated tasks at work but can't manage to get the dishes done and the house picked up; why we love whom we love or dislike whom we dislike.
- the big things in our futures that seem insurmountable: big purchases that we want or need to make, such as houses or cars or healthcare; facing our own (or our loved ones') chronic or terminal illness; discerning where we will work or where we will live or how and when to start a family.
- the dreams and hopes that seem too frivolous to consider, or too difficult to attain: being recognized for artistic talents or athletic skill; earning a promotion or landing your dream job; going back to school to finish your degree - or to earn another one; miracle cures; defying the odds.
Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth bore a son in her old age (just like Sarah), Moses parted the Red Sea, Daniel escaped the jaws of the lions, Noah survived the flood, Jesus rose from the dead.
Part of having the "gutsy faith" that Morely talks about is taking the chance that this statement - "Nothing is impossible with God" - might actually be true. And not true in a trite sort of way - you know, trivializing our own hopes or the hopes of others with a quick "Nothing's impossible for God" and a shoulder shrug.
I'm talking about really really believing it. Believing that the God who did crazy and miraculous things back in Bible days still does crazy and miraculous things in our world. Faith really is about having the audacity to believe that things can change, that our world can be different, that God really acts in our lives, even when things seem improbable, crazy, or downright hopeless.
My own personal challenge right now is to walk my faith journey with greater confidence that these simple words - "Nothing is impossible with God" - are true, to invest my hope ever more deeply into the hands of a God who makes promise after promise to his people, to take a bigger risk on God, to be faithful, to be gutsy.
Who's with me?