Mary said… – Luke 1:34&38 (NRSV)
These are two of the most important words in Scripture.
The angel of the Lord comes to Mary to announce what God is proposing for her body, for her fertility, and for her life. It’s a big moment, and through the years, many have recorded what they thought was most important about it: the angle of Mary’s gaze, the position of her hands, the drape of her clothes, the lily she’s holding for some reason.
Not Luke. Luke thinks what’s important to record is what she had to say.
Mary said: How can this be? Give me the information I need to make a reproductive choice.
Mary said: Let it be with me according to your word. I give you my consent.
That Luke takes the time to report what Mary said means this: part of the gospel, part of the good news of Jesus Christ, is that God takes the time to listen when women speak about their bodies. God, full of knowledge, thinks the questions and thoughts young girls have about their reproductive health are worth paying attention to. God, full of power, will not move without the consent of the moved-upon.
If you’re a person who looks to Mary as a model of motherhood, then you best be sure you’re also a person who looks to the way God treated her, both when she was a mother and, just as importantly, when she wasn’t.
If you’re a person who’s trying to build a nation that God would approve of, then you best be sure you pay attention to what Luke, and God, did when Mary spoke.
For all the ways you listen, for all the bodies you protect, for all the consent you wait for, for all the autonomy you respect, thank you.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.