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Not My Will . . .

Posted Friday, December 7, 2012, at 7:19 PM

She harbored a secret. God had spoken to her. In fact, God had sent her a messenger to tell her she would be the mother of the Messiah. She was so excited. She and her beloved, Joseph, were to parent the Messiah. She could hardly wait for the completion of their betrothal so they could begin their life as husband and wife--especially with the promise of the Messiah as their child. She dreamed of the joy they would all share. Soon, very soon she and Joseph could begin their family.

Only a few weeks had passed since God spoke to her. She and Joseph had not yet consummated their marriage, yet her body was changing: the illness that began every morning, slowly waning throughout the day; the aches; the changing of shape. If she were not positive she had never been with a man she would swear she was with child. How could this be? God said she was to be the mother of the Messiah, but surely God did not intend for her to be shamed in this manner. Joseph could put her away. She could be shunned. Even worse, she could be stoned to death. She had done nothing wrong, yet her body . . . who would believe her to be the righteous woman of her claims with a child obviously growing within her? "God, I don't understand. I thought being the mother of the Messiah would be a time of joyous celebration, yet I am so filled with fear and doubt instead. This is not what I would choose, but God--not my will, but thy will be done."

She had to go find Joseph. Even if he never understood, she was to bear God's son.

Joseph could not believe the evidence of his eyes. Mary was with child. They had never been together. He would never have thought that his beautiful Mary would have been with another man. Yet, she was pregnant. There was no denying that reality. Who? Why? He loved her so. She would be stoned to death if he made the information public. To lose her would be like cutting out his heart. Someone must have forced himself on her; why would she not tell him? He would quietly divorce her so that no harm came to her. His heart broke within him as he started off to find her and sever their betrothal.

He could not move. He could barely breathe. The air around him seemed to shimmer. He could hear . . . a voice. God was speaking to him . . . Mary was a pure, righteous woman . . . bearing the Messiah . . . Joseph was to raise the son of God?! How? Why them? God help them. They were to raise the Messiah. What joy . . . honor . . . to be chose by God . . . how would they manage . . . he was but a simple carpenter, not a man of wealth. "Oh, God . . . I do not understand why you have chosen me for this task. I am so inadequate. This is not my choosing--not my will, but my God, I ask not for my will, but thy will be done."

He had to go to Mary. She must be terrified; even he had accused her falsely.

God, you tell us of one of the greatest love stories of all time in the life of Mary and Joseph. Their love and faithfulness to you is greater than anything we can understand. The burdens and joys they bore to parent Jesus, our Lord and Savior--yourself in human flesh is more than we can comprehend. On his final night on this earth, Jesus prayed "not my will, but thy will be done." Yet how often are we willing to give up our will for your will? Speak to us, God: whisper in our hearts and minds; place reminders along our path; continually draw us into your will. Teach us to pray "not my will . . . ." So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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