When a tiny magnetic Mary statue came into my possession this fall, I started to wonder about Mary a bit more than ever before. For about a month she’s been sitting on the shelf above my computer and I often find myself glancing up at her.
There are a handful of things the scriptures tell us about Mary and another handful we can deduct from what is known about the culture and customs of the time. This year I find myself not pondering the things we know about Mary, but rather the things we don’t. I wonder why she believed the angel. What had been her religious experience up to the point of an angel appearing to her?
I feel we take this part of the story for granted because we’ve heard it so many times. An angel appeared to her, told her she was pregnant and she responded with, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Let that sink in for a minute. An Angel appeared to her. I wonder if she was a deeply religious woman – familiar with the prophecies of the coming Messiah? Did this make the news easier to accept? Or was she a woman who practiced the customs of the time unsure of what she believed, but was so moved by the encounter with the angel she excepted it outright? Not only did she accept it but she later sings an entire song praising God for his act of justice. Mary’s song is not a song of meekness. It is a bold praise of a God who brings justice to the oppressed.
These ideas leave me with more questions about Mary than answers, but it starts to unravel the vision of a scared unwed teenager and the meek subservient mother of Jesus into a woman who possesses a great deal of strength and courage.
Maybe that is why my little magnetic Mary is stomping on the serpent.
Coordinator of Children’s Ministry