Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
This week I want to continue the theme of praying with the imagination since I believe that placing oneself at the scene in a biblical story can bring home a message for each of us.
Maybe you will better be able to understand the emotions and turmoil that Mary went through once the Angel Gabriel had given her God’s message but this is my take on events.
‘Once Mr Gabriel had left, Mary’s head was spinning. What was that all about? Who was that man and more importantly what have I agreed to? She decided she needed to talk it over with Joseph although, whilst a just and kind man, he did have a fearsome temper so she was more than a bit afraid as to what he would say. Sure enough when she met him coming out of his father’s workshop at the end of the day he flew into a rage at her news. He told her the wedding was off and he never wanted to see her again. She ran home in floods of tears. Mother suggested that she should go to spend some time with Cousin Elizabeth. After all with a few months apart it might all calm down, she thought to herself, although she doubted whether the wedding would ever take place. Next morning Mary packed a few things into a suitcase and caught the early morning train to the hill town where Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah lived. It was a long journey and so it was evening before she arrived, by which time Mary was quite tired. Elizabeth was in the neat well-kept garden gathering some flowers for a vase in the living room. When she saw her young cousin approaching she ran to welcome her with open arms. “It’s lovely to see you,” she cried, “Come in and tell me all your news!” It was as if a weight had been lifted from Mary’s shoulders. Elizabeth would understand and could surely help her. “Looks as if you’ve news of your own!” she laughed patting her cousin’s enlarged stomach. “Indeed! We both thought we were far too old to have a child but it seems God has other ideas! Anyway, come on inside I will make some tea and we can chat.” Over a pot of tea and cakes in front of the kitchen stove it all came tumbling out. Mary told her all about the visit of the strange old man, Mr Gabriel, what she had agreed to and Joseph’s reaction. “What I can’t understand,”she said, “is if they wanted a king to reign over Israel, why choose me? Surely they would have chosen the daughter of some wealthy family. I am not worthy or qualified to undertake such a task” Elizabeth listened in silence. Then, quietly she explained, “God works in mysterious ways. He does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. After all, I didn’t know what to think when Zechariah told me that whilst serving in the Temple an angel came to him, - yes, your Mr Gabriel is an angel, - to say that we would have a child who would bring people back to God, that he would prepare the people for One who was to come after him, but it has happened.” She paused, and then said,“I believe that the child in your womb is indeed that holy child who will be called the Son of God. If you want further proof, my unborn child gave me a good kicking when you called out to me! Anyway we can talk more later. Come and give me a hand to make up a bed for you.” Mary stayed happily with her cousin until John was born.
Mary prepared for the birth of her child by spending time with her cousin. How are you preparing for the coming of the Christ Child into your heart?
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years