Tabernacle

Feast of St. Thomas

By Sherry Black

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 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 ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to 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 holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Meditation

A few months later, the Angel Gabriel had another visit to make, to a young woman named Mary, a virgin. Gabriel told Mary that she had been found favored of God and chosen to bear God’s own Son! “How can this be?” she asked. And Gabriel told her exactly how it would be, that the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High would overshadow her and she would conceive and bear God’s Son, the Son of the Most High God, a holy man. Can you imagine?

God, I AM, Creator of the universe sought out a young woman to give birth to God’s own Son. God entered the fullness of being human as we all do, by being born of a woman, who endured nine months of pregnancy and underwent labor and all the messiness of childbirth. And babies are messy, too! God as a toddler, learning to walk! Mary bearing, feeding, bathing, caring for, and potty-training Emmanuel, God-with-us. Mary said yes, and became a tabernacle, the dwelling place of God!

In the new, posthumously published book by Rachel Held Evans, Wholehearted Faith, she writes,

On the days and nights when I believe this story that we call Christianity, I cannot entirely make sense of the storyline. God trusted God’s very self, totally and completely and in full bodily form, to the care of a woman. God needed women for survival. Before Jesus fed us with the bread and wine, the body and the blood, Jesus himself needed to be fed, by a woman. He needed a woman to say: “This is my body, given for you.”

What a holy mystery.

The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Ilaje (Church of Nigeria – Anglican Communion)
The Diocese of Oklahoma

 

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