Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Faith and the Unexpected

I felt kind of bad about leaving a post up through Christmas entitled "the road to hell", although I do think it was somewhat appropriate since I have been working retail throughout the season.

Last night I was talking to a good friend who was asking me about my future plans, and after expressing some uncertainty and/or preoccupation, he encouraged me to have faith, which led to a discussion about what faith is. I said that I have faith everything will work out, but I don't have faith necessarily that it'll work out to the plans I am working towards.

I spend a lot of my Christmas meditations thinking about Mary and Joseph. So last night as I read the nativity story I wondered again about Mary. I can't begin to imagine what she felt on that night. The angel foretells the birth of the Son of God, and I can't help but think of all the things she experienced that must have made her doubt that. The barn, the fleeing into Egypt, the scorn from family, the strange and intense ministry, culminating at a brutal death. We know the disciples had problems with grand disillusions about the kingdom of Jesus-- imagine what his mother must have thought.

I wish so much we heard more from Mary in the cannonized gospels (she probably shows up more in apocryphyl work, but I don't know from sure). Luke's account gives a few peeks into her thoughts, which I'm assuming Luke garnered directly from her. I wonder how she felt when she was praised, only to have Jesus rebuke the thought. I wonder how she felt when the family went to see him and he denied the biological family but claimed all believers as his family.

I don't know how she handled it. I don't know if she was bitter or accepting, warm or hardened, faithful or doubting. Clearly she was loyal to her son, though it must have been difficult. I don't know about the faith of Mary. I assume she was faithful. She was the woman chose among all those in the world for this burden and joy.

I believe Mary had faith, although things certainly didn't unfold as she would have chosen or thought. I think that's the point. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Delight yourself in the Lord-- there's the catch. In good times and bad, even when it doesn't go the way you want or expect.

"But his mother treasured all these things in her heart..." --Luke 2:51

1 comment:

Robert B said...

"But his mother treasured all these things in her heart..." --Luke 2:51

I have always loved this verse...for all it says and all it doesn't say. She doesn't understand everything, but she understands enough. Pure faith.