And God Waits – Br. James Koester

Romans 8: 28-30

Today is a perfect day for me! I love this feast for all sorts of different reasons.

I love it because it is slightly quirky. Nowhere in scripture is anything at all mentioned about the birth of Mary. All we can really say, unless we believe that Jesus arrived on earth via space ship, is that it happened.

I love it, because who could not love something whose source is a second century document entitled the Protoevangelium of James.[1] While the feast itself may not date to the second century, the very human desire to know more about the people we love, and honour is as real desire.

I love it because it is slightly over the top. In typical Anglican fashion, we’re glad to remember this event, but not to say too much about it. As one wag put it, some Christians don’t believe enough about Mary. Others believe too much. But Anglicans, believe just enough.

But mostly I love this feast because of what it says about God, and what it says about us, who have been “clothed with the light of [God’s] creation”.[2]

From almost the beginning, Christians have struggled to put into words what it means to be the chosen people of God. We have turned to theology, poetry, art, music, prose and liturgy in an attempt to put into words what it means for us, like Mary, to be clothed with the light of God’s creation, or in the words of Paul to the Romans, “to be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son.”[3]

It is this that we celebrate today. Not that Mary alone was conformed to the image of her Son, and therefore she alone was worthy. What we celebrate by remembering Mary’s nativity is that that all of us have been called, justified, and glorified, for “those whom [God] foreknew, [God] also predestined …. And those whom [God] predestined he also called, and those whom [God] called he also justified, and those whom [God] justified he also glorified.”[4]

Our destiny is not some unknown void in the great blue by and by. Our destiny is to be united with God “for all eternity in the host of heaven.”[5] And that destiny begins not next week, or next month, or next year. That destiny begins not when we die, or at the end of time. It began not last week, or last month or last year. It began not when we were born, or at the beginning of time. Our destiny to live forever united with God in glory began before all time. It began before time and eternity, just as did the choice of Mary to be the mother of God’s son. All that God is waiting for is our ‘yes’. Yes to God. Yes to life. Yes to glory.

Like Mary we hold in our hands the balance of our eternal destiny. Like that day in Nazareth, the hosts of heaven wait in eager anticipation for our response to God. And as with Mary, God has waited eons for our answer. And God is prepared to wait eons longer.

What we rejoice in today is not some pious legend about an elderly couple whose prayer for a child was finally answered. What we rejoice in today is not some biological or historical event that culminated in the birth of someone. What we rejoice in today is that before time, and in time, and after time God, has chosen us, just as he chose Mary, to love forever. Think of it: long, long before you were born, God loved you. Long, long after you die, God will continue to love you.

“For those whom [God] foreknew, he also predestined …. And those whom [God] predestined he also called, and those whom [God] called he also justified, and those whom [God] justified he also glorified.”

And that is what we celebrate today as we remember Mary’s birth. Not that God chose Mary alone, but that like Mary we too have been chosen by God to be loved forever.

And Mary waits.
And the angels wait.
And God waits.
What will you say? How will you answer?
Will you like Mary say “yes”? Yes, to God? Yes, to love? Yes, to glory?
What will you say?
And God waits.


[1] The Protoevangelium of James is dated to about AD 145 and is purported to be written by James the Brother of the Lord.

[2] Collect for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: For All the Saints, compiled by Stephen Reynolds, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 1994

[3] Romans 8: 29

[4] Romans 8: 29, 30

[5] Rule of  the SSJE: The Hope of Glory, Cowley, 1997, page 98

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1 Comments

  1. Craig K on September 23, 2023 at 14:23

    God does wait and loves us even before we are ready to receive God’s love.

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