Luke 1: 26-45
My book shelves are becoming increasingly littered with themes addressing the in-between times we are living through: ‘Thriving on Chaos’, ‘The Space In-between’, ‘Culture Shift’ etc. Rapid, discontinuous, change, to ‘we don’t know where’ is one consistent thread.
This was the context for both Elizabeth and Mary, as it is for us. ‘Navigating turbulence’ seems a good analogy, to me, because our circumstances, which are beyond our control, are so often changing. The challenge is how do we respond? I’m sure in our best moments we all want our responses to be consistently reflecting Jesus.
Both Elizabeth and Mary, in listening to God, are doing more than simply hearing the words. ‘I am the Lord’s servant’ (Mary) and ‘Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!’ (Elizabeth) are clear indications they have understood that God will be with them whatever the future holds, knowing it will definitely include rapid, discontinuous change.
Both Elizabeth and Mary, in looking for where God’s word needs to take root, offer willing hearts. They are the ones for whom the angels’ messages will have life-changing impact.
Both Elizabeth and Mary, will go forwards and live out their faith in God, probably already aware hardly anyone will believe them.
Both Elizabeth and Mary, have probably already learnt God is faithful and true to his every word, but this will deepen their conviction all the more.
So what about me and you …
Are we listening for God’s particular word to us in the shifting circumstances in which we live? What is it today?
Are we looking for where we need to embed that word? Our heart, or is it for someone else?
Are we actually getting around to acting on what we know God is calling us towards?
Are we reflecting on the results?
It’s clear that ‘navigating turbulence’ is not something you can just do. It’s not simply one practice, but threading a few together, so if we’re struggling to make sense of where we are, or where we’re going, we might need to look at each step in turn to discover where we need to pay attention.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess I so often feel I’m at the mercy of what’s happening around me. Help me to not simply go with the flow, but intentionally take the next step you are calling me to take … in the direction and manner you call.