By Joel Hess –
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Mary. She was a peasant girl. No one important. The original tale of a nobody. God’s specialty I suppose. She was a redneck who grew up far away from the place where the smart and the rich were, Jerusalem. And even in Nazareth, there was nothing about her that would cause her to stand out among her friends.
She likely went to synagogue with everyone else. She listened intently to the readings from Torah and the prophet’s decorative descriptions of the Day of the Lord. Surely must have wondered, “Are the days of prophets, miracles and acts of God over?”
Many paintings of old have Mary kneeling before a scroll of scriptures and praying when the angel visited her. There is no indication of that in our gospels. I think, like any other young servant girl of that time, she was working; her brow sweating as she cleaned a more well-to-do family member’s house.
So there she was working just like any other day. And the angel appeared, dressed in the glory of God. Gabriel. He looked completely out of place next to this plain teenager.
“Rejoice, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Luke tells us that Mary is troubled by this greeting! She was afraid as she stood before the Almighty. But she was also troubled. Why is she favored of all people!? This can’t be good. He must have the wrong house. At least Zechariah was in the right place at the right time. He was all dressed up as a priest should be. But she was not ready for any visitor, let alone the Lord!
She tried to discern what this meant that the Angel was far away from Jerusalem, from the temple. The same way she tried to discern the Rabbi’s words just a week ago. What does it mean?
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Let it be!
It is all quite incredible to Mary. The angel’s visit for sure. But that the hope of Israel was now in her common, inexperienced, fragile, virgin womb!
It’s frightening enough to carry a baby, but God? Like Zechariah, she could have doubted it. She could have argued with Gabriel – demanding proof or a sign. She could have complained like Moses – giving up every reason why she would not do a good job of raising up the Messiah. And she certainly had many!
But what does Mary say – she does not fight it. She says, “I am the Lord servant; let it be to me according to your word.”
Let it be.
Let it be to me according your word! This is the response of faith! She says it like only a young girl could. She doesn’t know all that this will mean. 30 years later she would watch her hero be vilified. She would hear them mock him as they beat him. She would cry like only a mother can cry as she watches her son, her hope, be punished as a criminal. Her joy would turn to shame. She doesn’t even know what she is saying, but it’s all that she can say. It’s all any of us can really say.
Let it be!
What word has God given you?
“Love one another as I have loved you!” Forgive repeatedly those who offend you. Let go of jealousy, envy, pride. These are words Jesus has given us. Words that benefit us and others.
But often we don’t want to live according to His Word. We wrestle against it. Push against it. We certainly don’t want to let it be. We have our own desires, our own ways. Darkness. Violence.
God tells us he will provide, but we can’t just let it be. We worry. We cling to our stuff desperately. Not willing to share, because we are worried about tomorrow.
It is scary to love others and to let go of ourselves. It’s frightening to just let it be.
Mary says, “Let it be!”
But the greatest Words we have from the angel, God, Jesus – are his promises! Like the promise He gave Mary.
This Jesus was born FOR YOU.
He gave you a promise in Holy baptism – you are His! You are forgiven of all your sins. You will rise again and live forever. Death has no power over you anymore! That is His Word to you!
The devil wants to steal your peace. He wants you to fight against even these words of FREEDOM and HOPE.
Mary says, “Let it be!”
This is my body, this is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins! We want to argue. We want to fight it; how can bread and wine be his body and blood? Why would God place himself in such ordinary packages? Like Mary a servant girl. Like you?
Let it be.
We can say, “Surely God does not forgive me for all I have done. There must be a payment plan. It can’t be free! Surely I need to add to this gift with something!”
Mary says, “Let it be.”
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be to me according your Word!
It can seem rough sometimes. And it is dark sometimes. And we are frightened. When what we see is not so pretty. And we don’t know God’s plan. We don’t know if we will keep our job, if our tests will come back fine. If we will see our mother at the family gathering this Christmas.
Let it be to me according your word.
For the one who gave us His Word is the one who let it be according to His Father’s word. He came to our broken down planet. He stood among the suffering and the hurting. He let them hurl insults at him and treat him like dirt.
Let it be.
He let them kill him. For that was the Divine Plan. For our salvation.
His disciples tried to stop him. He said,
“Let it be!”
And he rose again from the dead! Just as He SAID he would! He conquered death!
His Word can be trusted! God comes through! As Mary believed, just let it be. You will rise!
And He has given his word to YOU!
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me, there will be no sorrow,
Let it be!