The reading for Sunday, December 11, 2016:
Luke 1: 39-56
This Sunday, we continue to hear the story of Mary and Elizabeth. I've spent some time thinking about the modern connections to Mary and Elizabeth, about where we find the holy, about how God shows up in places we might not expect.
This week, I'm posting something different for your reading pleasure: a poem I wrote that imagines the angel Gabriel in modern times. It was published last year in Annunciation, a collection of poems by a variety of poets and illustrations by the editor Elizabeth Adams, published by Phoenicia Publishing.
A Girl More Worthy
The angel Gabriel rolls his eyes
at his latest assignment:
a virgin in Miami?
Can such a creature exist?
He goes to the beaches, the design
districts, the glittering buildings
at every boundary.
Just to cover all bases, he checks
the churches but finds no
vessels for the holy inside.
He thinks he’s found her in the developer’s
office, when she offers him coffee, a kind
smile, and a square of cake. But then she instructs
him in how to trick the regulatory
authorities, how to make his income and assets
seem bigger so that he can qualify
for a huge mortgage that he can never repay.
On his way out of town, he thinks he spies
John the Baptist under the Interstate
flyway that takes tourists
to the shore. But so many mutter
about broods of vipers and lost
generations that it’s hard to tell
the prophet from the grump,
the lunatic from the T.V. commentator.
Finally, at the commuter college,
that cradle of the community,
he finds her. He no longer hails
moderns with the standard angel
greetings. Unlike the ancients,
they are not afraid, or perhaps, their fears
are just so different now.
The angel Gabriel says a silent benediction
and then outlines God’s plan.
Mary wonders why Gabriel didn’t go
to Harvard where he might find
a girl more worthy. What has she done
to find God’s favor?
She has submitted
to many a will greater than her own.
Despite a lifetime’s experience
of closed doors and the word no,
she says yes.