If I Had Known Then
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The Virgin’s name was Mary. – Luke 1:26-27 (NRSV)
Maybe you, like me, are surprised to find yourself reading the story of Gabriel and Mary during Lent. In other traditions, today is the Feast of the Annunciation: March 25th, 9 months to the day ’til Christmas.
It’s strange, this close to the end of the story, to be reminded how it begins. It makes me wonder whether, if Mary had known then what she knows now, she would still have said, “Let it be with me according to your word.” After Simeon told her a sword would pierce her heart. After Herod killed all those other little boys. After Jesus motioned to one of his crowds and said, “This is my real mother and brothers.”
After so much suffering (and before still more), could she have mustered such a faithful response? We can’t know.
But reading this story in Lent reminds us that one thing is certain: For God, the answer is yes. Even with the end so near. Even knowing how it will turn out. Even with the suffering. The betrayal. The cross. God says, “I would do it again.”
To join you.
To love you.
To save you.
I would do it all again. I am doing it all again.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.