Be Like Mary
First off, before you ask, I’m not promoting celibacy. Besides Mary allegedly being a virgin mother, there are a lot of other aspects of her that I feel people often overlook.
This last Sunday, the pastor at my church spoke on the stories of Mary and Joseph. Stories often retold this time of year. But, he kind of turned them on their heads in a way I hadn’t thought about before.
“I’d say Mary was the first Christian,” he said.
He then went on to talk about how bizarre-yet-inspiring it was that an angel came to the virgin Mary, said essentially “Hey, so I know you’ve never been with a man, but you’re going to have a son, who will be the son of God. Cool?”
And she said: “May it be as you have said.”
May it be as you’ve said?
I’m not so sure I’d be as game as Mary if Gabriel came to me and asked me to take on a lifelong task of mothering the son of God. (And can we talk about what a role model of a non-bio dad Joseph was?)
Not only was Mary possibly the first Christian, but perhaps the first ‘yes man’ was a ‘yes woman.’
She had such faith that when God called upon her – even for such a great task – she said ‘yes.’
This sermon especially struck me because that same morning I joined the church “officially.” Though I’ve attended since March and I’ve been the leader of the Reconciling Ministries Team almost as long, I had yet to transfer my membership from my hometown congregation.
Though there wasn’t much fanfare to my membership transfer – the pastor said some kind words and introduced me to those in the congregation who may not have known my face – there wasn’t a lot. Not that I need a lot. That sermon and the inspiration of it was enough.
I tend to find myself often questioning if I’m doing enough in my faith – am I saying ‘yes’ enough? I sometimes feel like by splitting myself so many times it’s hard to be enough in every facet I’ve dedicated myself to.
Over the past eight months that I’ve been the chairperson of the RMT, I’ve felt like others may be questioning that too. For a brief moment someone assumed the role of my co-chair, having told me they’d take it on “because I have more time.” That hurt me. I felt unappreciated and not enough.
I’ve felt ‘not enough’ a lot in my life and in possibly every aspect – from romantic relationships to school to work to church to volunteering – and after everything I went through in recent years, I thought I was done letting myself feel that way. But there I was again, and there I continued to be through much of this year, feeling ‘not enough.’
But then I started to think about Mary, and I started to think of how I have said ‘yes.’
I said ‘yes’ to joining the church, even though the denomination is in a scarily divisive time. I said ‘yes’ to leading the RMT, despite the anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment in various parts of the church today.
And, possibly more importantly, even after losing friends from coming out, bad break-ups, all the negatives that come with being a journalist in 2019 and more, I still say ‘yes’ every morning to life. I say ‘yes, I can continue’ because I know I’m not alone, even in the darkest, loneliest places.
Even if you aren’t religious and don’t feel there’s some omnipresent being looking over you, know you still have the free will to say ‘yes’ to what you believe is right. And even if that’s simply saying ‘yes’ to another day on this earth – that is enough.