4th June 2020

God’s Invite to ‘Stand and Stare’

“Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”
Luke 1:38 (NRSVA)

In his poem ‘Leisure’, William Henry Davies poses an interesting thought:
“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
Davies is encouraging us to avoid just passing through life; instead he challenges us to focus on the beauty and the wonder all around us. His desire is that we pause, take in the fullness of all that is creation and marvel. Davies’ wisdom is so powerful that there are many other ways in which we can apply this philosophy. Perhaps we could ‘stretch’ his idea to include all of the people that we pass by on our daily journey through life. To ‘stand and stare’ prompts us to take the time to talk with the individuals we encounter.

As Christians, we find that we have extra avenues of exploring this philosophy . Take, for example, our reading of the Bible. Do we always rush through the Scriptures in the hope to meet some target? Maybe our aim is to read through the Bible in one year. Such a goal is good and helps us to learn from the Written Word. But let’s hope we don’t just become mere ‘commuters’ with Scripture. Within God’s Word there are many moments where it is good to just ‘stand and stare’.

In chapter one of the Gospel of Luke, we find the wonderful example of a young lady called Mary. Perhaps young and still in her teenage years, Mary is asked to participate in the story of God. The Archangel Gabriel invites Mary to encounter the Living Word in an incredible new way. Will she become the human mother of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God in the flesh? Mary’s decision to say yes, to participate with God in his salvation story, is a unique moment in history, never to be repeated. Yet, it reminds us of God’s offer to all of us today. Will we accept the invitation to let the Word come into our lives in a new and living way? To say “yes” is not just about accumulating knowledge or achieving a Scripture reading plan. The invitation is to ‘stand and stare’, to allow our lives to become enriched by what we read within our Bibles. The Holy Spirit desires to weave our story into God’s story; that the grace, love and mercy of God is not just something we read about. Instead, God’s grace becomes something we participate in.

Life is full of care. We can’t stop that. Yet, in all of this, God invites us to stand and stare. He provides his written Word as the means by which we encounter Jesus, the Living Word. Why not accept his invite today?

Father, let us hear your invitation – and help us to respond with all of our hearts, minds and souls today. We desire to encounter the Living Word in our lives, to change us from within. Lord Jesus, we look to participating in your story today, for you are the Lord of life and of our salvation.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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2 Responses to “4th June 2020”

  1. John Rodgers on June 4th, 2020 5:29 pm

    Hello Ian, Thank you for the admonition to us to “stand and stare” when we read Gods word. We can so easily miss the important points.
    I would suggest we should stand and stare when we read the book of Numbers. It shows clearly in many verses how old a person is when they become an adult. It grieves me , and sometimes makes me angry when I read or hear that Mary was a teenager. Your header scripture clearly states that Mary gave her consent to be the mother of the Son of God. The question is would God send Gabriel to ask Mary who according to the accepted belief was not an adult to give her consent? to such an important event. I mentioned this fact to a vicar and his reply was “well it is tradition”.
    I think we should make sure tradition is in line with all of Gods word before we accept it. Blessings from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. John.

  2. Ian Woodley on June 5th, 2020 3:27 pm

    Hello John, thank you for your comment. I assume that when you refer to the book of Numbers, you are referring to Scriptures like Numbers 1. Yes, I agree that God clearly classifies adulthood as occurring at the age of 20. Please bear with me – this was the age that men could go to war. Some historical Jewish rabbis were recorded as saying that 18 was an acceptable age to get married. It would appear that the age of marriage did not necessarily coincide with that of going to war. Men of that time were able to start a family before being called up to fight.
    I would also agree that we do not know how old Mary was when she was betrothed to Joseph. I was not suggesting that Mary was 13, so I apologise if I angered you by giving that impression. Below, I outline some possibilities that Mary was younger than 20, but of course the key thing is that Mary was a young lady. The article did use ‘perhaps’ in regard to Mary’s age. Whether she was 20 or 18 at the time does not take away from her spiritual response to the message from the Angel Gabriel.
    Many do believe that Mary was in her later teens – based upon not just upon ‘tradition’ but historical understanding of the culture of that time. Individuals did marry before the age of 20. Of course, Mary & Joseph were in their 12 months of betrothal, which can easily place Mary at 18 or 19.
    I hope my comments clarify things.

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