Mary Said Yes

Date: November 23, 2021

The brightness came on a sudden wind,
a brightness of white light and white wings
and white garment folds and murmured words
only she could hear. She was not so dazzled
that she could not see the wings or hear the voice,
but she knew not why she should be addressed
as ‘highly favored’ and ‘blessed among women’
by this divine messenger, if messenger he was.
How could it be that he was telling her
she would bear the Son of God, the Messiah?
How could it be that he was telling her she
would conceive, since she had known no man?
Nevertheless, Mary said yes.
To this bright being of white wings and a prophecy
at once profoundly personal and profoundly public,
Mary answered as the good servant: ‘Behold
the handmaid of the Lord.’ Young but not so young as
to be ill-informed, she knew well her world was being
turned upside down. Could not Joseph, her espoused,
have her legally stoned? It would be a steady,
pain-filled pummeling unto death, slow dying until
one of the hatefully hurled stones struck her temple.
And if not stoned, through Joseph’s gentle clemency,
then scorned by villagers who would stare and point
and gossip and accuse her behind their hands. All
those eyes, boring into her like one of Joseph’s tools.
Nevertheless, Mary said yes.
And if she could safely bear this child and bring him
into her world, how could she raise him? Love she
could give him, all of her love, but how could she
guide and teach him? Not even the wisest rabbi could
give her instructions for that. Nor would she ask.
Nevertheless, Mary said yes…
yes for all humankind for all the ages to come.
How could we ever say no to Mary’s yes to God?

Copyright © by Peggy Eastman, 2020

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