Advent 2011: 4.2 — Love isn’t Safe

Throughout this Advent season, my goal is to take each of the four Lectionary readings for each week and write a meditation about each one. Largely my motivation for this is simply that I love the season of Advent, yet there’s also a little bit of hoping that by blogging through this season, I can use it as a means to grieve the recent passing of my Dad?

Week 4: A reading from the Gospel of Luke

And Mary said, I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened-I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

— Luke 1:46-55 (MSG)

In today’s reading, we come back to Mary’s Song. Last week, Rev. Thorpe used this text to show us how joy is made manifest despite the circumstances by which we are surrounded. Today, I want to approach this text within the context of this week’s Advent theme–love.

Mary.

Her story is simply amazing.

A teenager.

Unmarried.

Pregnant.

In a culture that could stone her to death for that particular arrangement of circumstances.

Yet, she rejoices at the fact that God has placed her in His story.

She considers herself a victim of God’s deep love. She considers herself an example for generations to follow of God’s intense mercy.

What we learn from Mary’s plight is that God loves us so much that He’s willing to make us a part of His story. Yet, we also learn that being a part of God’s story is not always a safe place to be.

Mary could be killed by man for simply saying “Yes” to God.

There is a common misconception floating around the church. This misconception says, “The will of God is the safest place to be”. Yet, if you ask Mary, I would venture a guess that she would disagree.

As would, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

As would, Job.

As would, Jeremiah.

As would, Paul.

As would, Jesus.

Yet, all would tell you the immense depth of God’s love for them and for the world.

I am often reminded of Mr. Beaver’s comment regarding Aslan (the image of Jesus) to Lucy in C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

“Is–is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a l-the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking they’re braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

He isn’t safe, but He’s good. Mary understood this. Paul, Peter, Job, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego understood this. Millions of Chinese Christians understand this. God doesn’t call us to safety. He calls us to love.

Love is not safe.

It’s dangerous. It’s challenging. It’s tough. It’s uncomfortable.

It’s an unwed, pregnant, teenager in a culture where stoning her to death would have been acceptable.

It’s prison for merely reading a Bible.

It’s not safe.

But, God’s Love is always good.

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