2009 has arrived. We are living in a new year. New years are enticing. They hold the prospects of improvement — that we can be better, or at least different, from what we were in the year just ended. Some years we do make changes in our lives that bring improvement and make us better people. Other years our resolutions are not as resolved as we had hoped they would be. Yet, even with our improvements and our shortcomings, life goes on and new years keep coming.
Do you remember what Mary said at the conclusion of her encounter with the angel, Gabriel? “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to Your word.” Imagine how different her year was after she spoke those words — not just the first year, but every new year of her life was different than it would have been because she spoke those words. More than that, no new year would ever be the same for every person who lived after Mary spoke those words and became a willing partner in God’s redemption story.
Our speaking those words would, of course, not have the impact that they had when Mary spoke them. Yet, they certainly would make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those with whom we share our homes, our community, and our planet. Actually, the more you think about it, that really is quite a revolutionary statement. Simple as it is, it has potential to impact untold lives in a virtually limitless number of ways.
“Here I am” is an obvious acknowledgement. There is no way for us to be any other place except where we are. What good could it possibly do us to make such an affirmation? Saying it might help free us from the place in our past that we have never quite been able to move beyond. Saying it might jar us loose from the notion that there was another time or place in our lives that we will someday be able to return to. Saying it might help us to release some of the grief we have around not having yet arrived at the place we always wanted to be, thought we would be, or deserved to be. “Here I am” is a powerfully liberating statement.
“Servant of the Lord,” is a phrase capable of radically reorienting our lives. Our natural tendency is to serve ourselves. Seeking to live our lives in service to God cannot help but change our perspective and alter our vision as we look more at others than we look at ourselves.
There are so many words being spoken to use each day. Words that tell us what we should do, when we should do it, and how we should do it. We hear words all the time about what we should want and what we should think. For us to say no to all the words that the world speaks to us about what is of value and what matters, and yes to the word that God speaks into our lives, is a life changing decision. “Let it be with me according to Your word,” is a statement of submission. Not what I want, not what I need, not what I think, but according to Your word. God is not in our hands; we are in God’s hands.
So why not start the year with a little spiritual adventure? Find a way to say “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to Your word,” several times a day. What is several times a day? I don’t know. Just do whatever seems right to you. Maybe every time you open a car door, or the door to your house or apartment. Maybe you could say it every time you are near a sink. Identify some routine place or activity that will remind you to say it. Then see what happens. See if you notice anything new happening in your life this new year.
Joy and peace,