I was pondering a piece by Ordinary Pilgrim this morning around Mary and icons from from Medieval European female monasteries that open up to show Mary with anything from just Jesus to the whole Trinity growing within her
Externally, she is portrayed as a simple mother; on the inside she hosts the mysteries of heaven.https://www.ordinarypilgrim.co.uk/blog
So I got to letting my thoughts flow through my pen and what struck me is how we have turned this simple, ordinary teenage girl into something super human; have taken something that could have happened to anyone who was willing into an hierarchical structure with, depending on denomination, either priests and vicars, or with pastors and a pastoral team.
Mary was so amazingly ordinary and yet too often people are not allowed to believe this could happen to them. Or have to take it through a leader of some sort – whether vicar or church pastor or whatever the denomination calls those who stand at the front.
The amazingness, for me, of the Incarnation is that it came to an ordinary young woman in an ordinary town. I’ve often wondered if Mary was the first person the angel came to or whether there were others who said No? It is Mary’s willingness that is amazing. But also each of us can grow something of God within us and take it out into the world. We don’t have to be gifted orators, or want to win everyone over to be a signed up follower of Christ. But each of us can willingly say “I have God living within me and I can take that wherever I go”.
I wonder if the line “your kingdom come, your will be done“, which too often we prayer much too quickly but also see as for something bigger, actually is “let that little seed of you, God, that is growing in me come to fruition today”.
So as I pondered what is being birthed in me this season I also prayed for all who profess a faith in Jesus, and even those who don’t, that they would allow what God has within them grown to be something as amazing as Mary allowed.
Jesus does say we will go on to do more amazing things than he did. Maybe, just maybe, that is allowing God’s incarnation in each of us to grow unhindered into all it is meant to be. Not held back by the culture of our churches, our church leaders, our families, our own hearts that can’t believe God would do that with us. And I also prayed for all church leaders of whatever denomination, whatever stream, that they would not get caught up in the machinations of leading their congregations and be able to let the seed of God that is within them grow into whatever it is God wants it to be.
Mary did not know what Jesus would be like when she said Yes to God’s proposal. She did not know what would come next. In fact she did not even know is she would live through the birth of this child – death in childbirth was very common up until very recently. But she said yes. Am I willing to say yes to this seed that God has inside of me whatever happens to me? Are you?