Isaiah 7:10-14; Hebrews 10-4-10; Psalm 40; Luke 1:26-38
In our Psalm this morning we prayed, “Happy are they who trust in the Lord, they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.” I spoke last week about trusting God, I even gave a homework assignment, to spend one day in complete trust, not worrying about anything. In our Gospel lesson this morning we have the perfect example of this kind of trust. Mary, when confronted by the Archangel Gabriel, and told that she will be the Mother of the Messiah, is not sure about what is being said, she seems both confused and overwhelmed, but she chooses to put these aside and trust in God. That is an essential point, she did not put her trust in a what, but in a Who. She could not be sure, none of us can be sure about what is going to happen, how our lives are going to play out, what difficulties, challenges or roadblocks may come our way. But we can trust in the Who, the Three Persons to whom we surrender our lives. In the words of the old hymn, “I know where I’m going, and I know Who’s going with me.” We know where we are going, our journey is both in and to the Kingdom of God, we know who is going with us, our brothers and sisters in Christ and the Triune God. What we don’t know, what we can’t be sure of, is what will happen on that journey, but we can know, with complete surety, that whatever happens, God will be with us.
If we pray to God, “O Lord, my life is in your hands, your will be done,” and then are disappointed, or frustrated by what happens next in our lives, then we are putting our trust in our own ideas of what should happen, not in God. If we make detailed plans, which then fall apart, and are angry or disappointed with God, then we are trusting in ourselves, our own intellect and ability, not in God. These kinds of things are the “false gods” mentioned in our Psalm, anything in which we put our trust, that is not God, is a false god, an idol, and possibly an evil spirit. There are many forces in this world trying to pull us away from God, trying to break our faith and trust. How many people do you know who start their day by reading their horoscope, or weighing themselves, or checking their stocks? All these, and more, can come between us and trust. King Ahaz, in our lesson from the Prophet Isaiah, refused to ask for a sign, even when God told him to, was he afraid to trust? Or afraid to commit himself to God’s will? Sometimes, I think, we choose not to trust in God because we are afraid of the next step, what comes after, that if we trust, then we are committed, to God’s will for our lives, to how God wants to use us for his purposes, to truly surrendering control. Because we don’t know what that will be, what will happen, whether we will like it, who we will become and what will be expected of us. We need to always keep in our hearts and minds Mary’s words, “I am the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” She was barely more than a child, possibly only a year or two older than Liam, being asked to do the most extraordinary thing any human being has ever done, to give birth to God, to be God’s Mother. And she said “Yes, yes I will. I’m not sure what this means, I’m not sure what will happen, but I trust my God. I will serve my God.”
In our lesson from the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is quoted as saying, “I have come to do your will, O God.” As Christians, as the Church, the Body of Christ in the world, that is what we are here for as well, to do God’s will. To align our will to God’s, in love and trust and confidence that God’s will, however it plays out in the here and now, is to our ultimate benefit and salvation. Our life in this world is not supposed to be easy, it is not supposed to be smooth, and our relationship with God is not supposed to make it that way. Our life in this world is a training camp, a School for Saints, and our relationship with God, our life in the Church, are the lessons, exercises, tools and gifts we need to stay the course. To teach, to encourage, to humble, to purify, to make us holy. And we all volunteered, as did all who came before us; Our Lady Mary, the Apostles, Martyrs, Saints of every age, Our Lord himself – have all said, “Let it be done to me as you say.” We can do no less if we desire to join their company, to join the great throng around God’s throne in the fullness of the Kingdom. We can do no less if we just want to get through this day, this week, in love and faith, in hope and trust.
“I know where I’m going, and I know who’s going with me…I’m going where He goes, and He’ll be there beside me, the love for which he died is all I need to guide me.”
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