Friday, December 15, 2006

More Than an Icon

This is a work of mine that was published in my church's advent devotional:

There is a 14-inch statuette on my mantle that has been in family since my parents visited Brazil nearly 50 years ago. It’s a statue of Mary, holding her newborn babe. At this time of year you may think that is not unusual; plenty of people display similar pieces of art for the holidays. But this statue is not surrounded by Joseph and donkeys and angels and shepherds. And it doesn’t get put away in early January. Mary retains her place of honor in our house all year round.

I love Mary.

She is my favorite character in the Bible, and there is no close second. There are times I wish I were a Catholic so I could even more open in my respect and admiration for Our Lord’s mother. Mary speaks to me of faith, trust, and belief. My own character pales in light of hers.

Consider the arc of her faith walk. As a young woman, she has a powerful encounter with God that changes her life, and then never doubts what happened. Every moment of her life seems to flow with the will of God. I like to think that if I had had such a powerful experience, I would have responded the same way. Yet I have had a personal encounter with the King, and his Holy Spirit lives within me, supposedly beating in time with my own heart. And still I question, still I waver, still I doubt.

As the events at Cana show, Mary did not always understand what Jesus was doing, but she never doubted His authority: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). Is there a better summation of what it means to be a follower of Christ?

In so many ways, Mary is my model. She received Christ in a way that transformed her as completely and radically as I hope my own encounter with Christ will one day transform me.

I love Mary.


Cami said...

Mary had a pure faith, that's for certain. I led an older man to the Lord some years ago, and he has exemplified this kind of faith like no one else I've personally known. It is remarkable, unfortunately; wouldn't it be great if we could all just believe the Lord this unswervingly?

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully written tribute to Mary. I agree with you, this is not an ordinary woman because her faith sets her apart and yet she is so ordinary because she is human. I cannot imagine how it would feel to be the "mother" of God.

I.I. said...

thank you, ladies. it is a truly mind-boggling task she had; what a responsibility.