Luke 1 is the daily Gospel at Morning Prayer this week, for obvious reasons. Recently, I recommended reading the daily psalm and finding a verse to be your prayer companion. I think we do well to find an inspired verse which we pray often throughout the day.
I also think that it is a good idea to ponder scripture. Today we read about Mary's visitation from the angel. There were two verses which jumped out at me which I want to share.
"Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God."
In Sunday School we prayed with each other for release from fear (healing and deliverance). Once fear is emptied out we opened to the blessings of love. Perfect love casts out all fear (and "Perfect Love" is a title of God!) Emptied of fear and filled with love, we become more human. So the Gospel today had something of a 'sync' quality in that it connected well with what our group prayed about Sunday.
There are two key elements: do not fear (stop fearing) and grace (you have found favor with God). I believe a worthwhile meditation/prayer exercise would be to repeat this verse every hour and spend two minutes taking it to heart. "I do not need to be afraid, God loves me and wants to bless me." What if you believed and trusted that God has a favorable feeling toward you? What if you truly embraced His embrace? What if you lived out of trust and were fearless? My guess is you would be more open to the Lord, more open to live, more courageous (and kind, merciful and loving). So repeat it (and insert your name for Mary). Send away the spirit of doubt. Break your covenant with unbelief. Pray and open your heart to "Believe it & Live it."
The second verse. For with God nothing will be impossible. Now this is hardly a new idea, but how often do we live in faith that it is true? Are we not prone to approach the world with a negative attitude. "No way..." and "this can't happen" are common refrains in the church. Now clearly, the logically impossible, meaningless words (God can't make a square circle) are not the point here. And the proverbial 'God creating a rock too big for God to pick up' is of course not helpful. We do better to see the context of the story, infertile, old Elizabeth is pregnant. That is the reference and I would paraphrase that "God is able to bring life out of death, abundance out of emptiness, wonderful amazing art works out of the most modest materials!
This is another reason to not fear. God is busy offering us possibilities. He wants to give life. Open, trusting hearts receive more easily and effectively. This is a recurring theme of the Gospel.
Not fear, but trust
Not doubt and despair, but hope
And the willingness to be open to His call, because we have found favor in His sight.
An unmerited amazing grace favor.
Read Luke 1:26-38 yourself. what jumps out to you? Pray with it, open your heart and meditate on it.