Message Received

Read Luke 1:26-33

Today we have so many ways to communicate. The use of electronic messaging is now commonplace and the top method of sharing a message with others. A person can feel overwhelmed at times with the number of messages received in one day. Some of these messages are uplifting, helpful, informative, and/or meaningful. Other messages are upsetting, destructive, trivial and/or annoying. There are times when we experience great joy with the message we receive. Still at other times we may be shocked by the contents of the message. Messages have the ability to inspire and motivate, or they can leave us scared and defeated.

The reading for today is a portion of Luke’s narrative on the birth of Jesus. A messenger of God comes to Mary. The greeting which the messenger offers is unsettling for Mary. She is informed to not worry because she is seen in a positive light by God. This is followed by the announcement that she is to conceive a son who God wishes to be named Jesus. The last statements in this portion of the message describes who this child will be in life. The description fits the prophecies regarding the Messiah. What an unnerving, and yet profound message Mary has received, a message she received because she chose to be open to it.

Many messages came our way on a daily basis. In reading about Mary’s receipt of a message, an obvious question presents itself, “Am I open to receive a message from God?” Since God does not use conventional means to deliver messages to us, we must be alert to the various ways God may choose to communicate with us. The most frequent method is through other people who God places in our path. But God uses Scripture, the arts, nature and even dreams as well. We may receive profound and life-changing messages as Mary did. We may also receive messages of reassurance, love, forgiveness, and hope. Whatever the message may be, we can only receive it if we are open and alert for it.

Want to See

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

John 12:20-21 (NIV)

Have you ever had the privilege to see a celebrity person in a close setting? Maybe you were part of a reception line. Even better, maybe you had a conversation with them and even had a picture taken. Most of us have few, if any, opportunities like were just described. Many celebrity individuals have such busy schedules and numerous demands that they are unable to spend time with the average person. People like the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, and the President of the United States have to have individuals who manage all the requests for an audience with them. The requests are many and the time is limited.

Today’s passage presents a time when a group of Greeks desired an audience with Jesus. They had to go to one of the inner twelve to ask to see Jesus. It is probable that this occurred many times after Jesus became known throughout the region. Apparently, Philip was not sure about going to Jesus with the request alone so he co-opted his brother, Andrew. We are told they make Jesus aware but we are not told if the request is granted or not. Jesus instead is recorded as discussing his death and what is necessary to follow him. The request just sits there.

Like the group of Greeks, we also would like to see Jesus. One of the challenges of our Christian faith is not being able to physically see or audibly hear the One who we follow. Yet we can have our request met if we realize that Jesus is a part of those around us. As the line from a praise song says, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you.” (Open the Eyes of My Heart, Paul Baloche) We need the Lord to open us to seeing and hearing him in those around us. We have been granted an audience with the Lord through the lives of one another.