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On Friday, the Church celebrates the Annunciation of the Lord, which was the announcement of the Angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary, that she is favoured and would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. The whole episode is surrounded in perplexity and impossibility.
Before Gabriel gets to the announcement that Mary is to bear a son who will ‘reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his Kingdom will have no end’, Mary is perplexed that she is favoured. A young woman from a nowhere town is visited by an angel and told that ‘God is with you’ and that you are ‘favoured’? Try to imagine a contemporary scene where this kind of encounter would happen. Imagine a young woman who lives in an unfashionable part of the world being visited by an angel and told such things. The story tells us that Mary ponders. Me? Who am I? Why am I favoured? Nothing like this should be happening to me?
The Bible illustrates to us time and time again, that God chooses those who are not considered lofty in the worlds eyes to be vessels of the living God. The God who makes the impossible possible. Such stories like the Annunciation are met with incredulity from those who put too much weight in human logic, when one of the main themes of scripture is to ask us to engage with the poetics of the impossible. Not to put away our God given capacity for reason but to be open to events that shatter the horizons of the possible. Whereas we may wish to contain God (which theologians and clergy are tempted to do), stories such as the Annunciation remind us that God lives beyond the limits of our imaginations.
As we journey deeper into Lent, let’s ask for a fresh revelation of the God who makes the impossible possible.
With prayers and best wishes,
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