The Rev. Canon Bonnie-Marie Yager-Wiggan
She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’ Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’ She did not submit with gritted teeth, raging, coerced. Bravest of all humans, consent illumined her. The room filled with its light, the lily glowed in it, and the iridescent wings. Consent, courage unparalleled, opened her utterly.
—From the poem Annunciation by Denise Levertow. Selected Poems, edited by Paul A. Lacey, New Directions Books, 2002, pp. 162-164.
With courage and consent, Mary says, “Yes.” Yes–to conceiving, yes to new life fluttering within her, yes to the labor, yes to the birth, yes to the joy, yes to the loss, yes to the holy.
Our Orthodox brothers and sisters call her the Theotokos, “the God-bearer.” She freely accepts the action of God to be the Mother of God. On this Feast of the Annunciation, we celebrate her courage, her yes to God not by fiat but by her willingness to serve the purposes of God in her life for the sake of the world.
“Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?” Times when there’s an announcement of possibilities we did not expect, paths we didn’t know we could travel. Invitations by God to care, to love, to suffer and give all that we have, to forgive, to not be afraid. We ask questions, seek details, wanting to know the end of the story because maybe we did not expect an angel in our midst. Saying yes does not mean you are not afraid, just that you are unwilling to let fear stop you. With Mary, you declare, “Here I am; let it be with me according to your word.” You become one of Mary’s people, one more Theotokos who is willing to bear God into the world.
-excerpt of March 25, 2021, Feast of the Annunciation sermon by Canon Bonnie-Marie Yager-Wiggan