On Sunday we acknowledge and celebrate the finale for children's ministry in our church for 2020. It's a bit different this year as the ability to gather and practice for a play have been severely curtailed. Many things in church life are not quite up to speed after the year we've had. Expecting everything to be the same has been turned on its head. Energy levels are mixed.
Also on Sunday I will be reflecting briefly on the scripture Matthew 1: 18-21, which shows that God is able to work in the midst of circumstances which seem at face value quite unpromising. God transcends the natural and cultural order of things, simply because God wills it by God's Spirit.
Imagine the worry, fear and shame of Mary and Joseph, without the timely angelic intervention and prophetic word described in scripture. Do we believe in God's intervention in the mundane circumstances of our lives? Things go wrong, things that trouble us - here's my list for the past month: A marathon not going quite to plan, a health situation not to my liking, a scrape on one of our cars. The list could go on. Thankfully not too scary a list.
In the middle of these sub-optimal circumstances, God can teach me and make me stronger in faith. I strongly believe and have hope they are part of my spiritual growth and provide opportunities for the Spirit to work and lead me on.
Mary was minding her own business when her whole life was turned upside down by the prophetic news about Jesus, and her role in his birth and life. We often ask God why things have happened to us. We cannot know the answer in many cases. We live with mystery. Yet Mary and Joseph are a biblical example of feeling the fear and trusting God anyway. They are a model of hope and faith for us, the gathered people of God at Advent.