Tuesday, December 20, 2011 — Week of 4 Advent , Year Two
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 939)
Psalms 66, 67 (morning) 112,115 (evening)
1 Samuel 2:1b-10
Traditionally many religions including Christianity have used feminine imagery to speak of God’s Spirit and God’s Wisdom in the world. The Hebrews used the word Sophia to personify the creative, active presence of God’s Wisdom-Spirit within creation.
Some people will imagine the presence of that Spirit within us, at the center of our being, a few inches behind our belly button — in a place that is deeper than thought, close to the heart yet even deeper than emotion. Spiritual directors have encouraged those on the spiritual journey to listen and to be open to God’s direction within, to the prompting of Sophia, Wisdom, Spirit. That prompting is often accessed through another feminine resource, our intuition. Intuitive openness and acceptance of the Spirit’s yearning for us is an ancient path for God’s creative activity. God honors us by inviting us into cooperation with what God is doing, allowing us to be co-creators with God’s Spirit in the new birth of God’s blessing.
One of the things people will say over and over is that God is full of surprises. What God is up to is truly unpredictable. Another thing people will say is that God comes to us through our weaknesses, often using our most frightening life-events to announce a new beginning.
We look at what happened to a young peasant girl in Galilee. She found herself inconveniently pregnant. It was a pregnancy that could cause scandal and would probably ruin her plans for her future. But she experienced a message from God so powerful that it seemed personified. The messenger first told her that she was not condemned, but favored; that God loved her and blessed her, as odd as that seemed under the circumstances. And something about the messenger and the message took away her fear. Perfect love always casts out fear. She listened from deep within her. “God favors you. Do not be afraid.”
From her depths she answered: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
When I imagine the Annunciation to Mary, I imagine something happening right below the belly button, in the very center of her being, in that intuitive place where we experience Sophia-Wisdom-Spirit, and where God invites us to be co-creators to cooperate in what God is doing.
Mary is not the only one pregnant with the gestating birth of God’s being in the world. Each of us carries God’s work within us. God’s Wisdom speaks gently at the center of our own vulnerability saying, “You have favor with God. Do not be afraid. Listen.”