Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I just wanna know

Third Wednesday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6
Luke 1:26-38

So, in this reading from Isaiah, we've got God telling Ahaz to ask for a sign?!?!? I thought we weren't supposed to ask for signs. I thought we were supposed to take things on faith and trust and all that, praying that we'll "discover" the proper way to go ... not ask for signs and proof.

Or maybe Ahaz is trying a little "reverse psychology" here .... "I'll pretend like I don't want a sign, that it would go against everything I believe in, and then maybe God'll give me a sign anyway." Who knows .... could make sense ...

It reminds me of a time back in college, at a point when I was obsessing over the whole "nun-thing" .... there was one week at the end of September where I just had everything coming due and had no clue how it was all going to happen — major exam in Music History, game board due in Recreational Music, arrangement due in Music Theory, and I don't even remember what all else was up. I think it was either that Sunday or Monday night when I began the thought "If I can just make it through this week ...." but then I stopped. I knew it wasn't right to play that game with God, and so I stopped myself right there. The follow-up thought would have been something dealing with the whole nun-thing, but, like I said, I didn't go there. After all, "You should not put the Lord your God to the test" (Deut 6:16).

So, like I said, I didn't go there. It was just left hanging, a simple "If I just make it through this week ...." and was completely forgotten. At least, until the beginning of University Chorale on Friday, right after Music History, and I looked again at the test we just got back ..... and noticed that I got a 98% ..... which was beyond good ..... and I thought about the great score that I got on my arrangement .... and the game board that was not-quite-finished-but-done-enough-to-get-major-gush-points .... and the everything else that had been completed .....

Which, while I was grateful for having survived, at the same time I wasn't quite sure what this meant about the nun-thing. Would I still be held liable even if I hadn't finished the thought officially? And how did this work anyway? I specifically didn't throw that little fleece out there because I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. And yet ... I got it anyway.

All of which is the reason why I'm a firm believer in the line: Be careful what you ask for.

It's funny, though, because we so often think our life would be easier if we just had a sign. "Oh, if only I could have the big loud voice booming down from heaven telling me what to do" .... and yet, do we really want that? I mean, seriously. If all the sudden an angel showed up and told me "Thou shalt become a nun" .... somehow I think I'd put myself in a very different kind of institution. And would we even listen, even if we did get the "voice"? I often joke that God kept smashing me over the head with those cartoon anvils, but I still wouldn't get the point. Sure, I'd hear it for a little bit, but then I'd move on to whatever it was that I wanted to do. Just because we get the voice doesn't mean we listen to the message; just because we see the sign doesn't mean we still don't make wrong turns.

So maybe that's what it was with Ahaz. Maybe he didn't want the sign, not for pious and holy reasons, but for more purely practical reasons. If you don't get the sign, you don't have to act on it.

And that's what makes Mary's fiat so noteworthy. Not only did she hear the sign and accept it, she followed through with it, even after the angel left. It's one thing to get a sign; it's another thing to live it out.

So .... do you still want a sign?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent reflection here, Steph!

12/21/2006 10:40 AM  

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