Mary…re-imagining Advent

( Mary…East Vancouver 2007 )

It’s late Sunday evening and I’m working on the computer and I get a text from my daughter, ” help!” She has to give a reflection at chapel the next day around Advent. My daughter works at christian based Drug and Addiction Rehabilitation Center for young women. So we start the ball bouncing, me sending it across the ” net ” and her returning it. Suddenly something profoundly redemptive starts to unravel…it may not be biblically, or theologically correct.

But isn’t all theology to a certain extent like reaching for stars in the infinite darkness that stretches beyond the limits of our imagination. I mean no one doubts the birth of Jesus, it’s the conception we have an issue with. Much like creation, and evolution…we see everything after the ignition switch was pressed. But before that, again we reach into the darkness blindly try to grasp something something that might make sense. I think Jesus’ birth is like that, we know Mary’s water broke and with that, Jesus was poured into the midst of humanity.

How much has our theology formed the boundaries of the box that this story has been constructed in? There is Augustin’s attempt at science suggesting that ” sin” is somewhere well hidden on a chromosome…that humans are genetically sinful. You would think with the advances in genetic research we could well cure sin within a generation. But somehow God had to be tangibly apart of this reproductive experiment. There is also the thought that the birth is post-Easter metaphor, a subversive alternative story that that challenged the divinity of Caesar. Again, you see the sides of the box being formed.

But there are people out there if their honest that tend to gravitate towards one side of the box or the other. But I wonder sometimes if we haven’t sterilized Jesus and the story, that maybe, well, it was just too human and we had to clean it up.

So as I’m thinking of these young women in the Addiction center I begin to feel sparks, the synapses of neurons in my head igniting and the hard drive encased in my skull begins to spin. What if it was God in a different kind of way…a way in which these young girls whose lives have been turned upside down would understand.

What if Mary and Joseph had just had sex, it was a night when passion just took over and in the heat of the moment it just happened. What for them seemed like eternity, but in reality in minutes there lives were changed forever. In a culture, and a society and neighborhood that was entrenched in religion where breaking rules meant exile or at worst death. This same Spirit that brooded and hovered over the dark mirky void of nothingness at the beginning of creation…hovered in this profound moment of time ready to re-create anew. God could sense Mary’s desperation, a God that is love, that is filled to infinity with eternal redemptive power and imagination. What if he spoke to Mary and told her that he would not only redeem this moment for her but all humanity. With the whisper of a gentle breeze, a kiss he told her…you will have a son, he will be son and you will call him Jesus. Mary out of desperation, and love for God could say but one thing, ” As you have said.”

So my daughter, Ashley and I continue to bounce the ball back and forth across the ” net.” We ask I wonder if these girls suffer from addiction, broken childhoods…feeling unworthy and unloved…we wonder if they might reimagine this story. Maybe there is something stirring deep within them, a feeling of passionate desperation to have something hope-filled birthed in them. I wonder if they might feel that gentle breeze, that profound mysterious loving kiss wanting to birth Jesus in their lives.

It’s my prayer for all these girls that Advent would be filled with the beauty of redemptive imagination like a cold star-filled winter night. That they wouldn’t fear the dark in their lives, that they would reach for a star, not just wishing, but praying and listening…because a God who is love wants to birth Jesus into their lives…a hope beyond anything they can imagine. A hope in which dreams become real.

 

  • http://www.al-muses.blogspot.com Al

    Ron, this totally illustrates the power of what you call redemptive imagination. When one starts from a foundation point of grace, there is no end to the ways the biblical stories can speak to us.

    Although your scenario may be heretical(!), it captures the gist of what the rumor mill would have been generating in Mary’s village–and that is the whole point. Mary’s neighbors would have been accusing her of doing the unthinkable, and banishing her because of it.

    God would say, “I am bigger than all of that, here let me demonstrate how big my grace is.”

    I love how the power of God’s grace can be brought into any situation, if we allow it that freedom.

  • http://thewearypilgrim.typepad.com ron cole

    Interestingly Al, I showed it to a young lady, she read it and was blown away. Nothing to do with me…but she got it. She said we have this perception of the perfect girl…her life had to be in oder for God to use her. Could God have used a broken young girl using drugs on the street, maybe pregnant with some Joe’s kid. Could we imagine God want to birth hope into her life…or would she have to sterilize herself first???


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