God Is On Your Side...

The Christian Church is in the season of Advent—the four weeks leading up to Christmas—when we wait and prepare in anticipation the coming of Christ into our world. We prepare for good news. We prepare for a new world to come about; a new world to burst forth right here in the midst of this one.

The plot is quite simple, really. God has a talk with this angel, Gabriel. “Hey Gabe, I need you to go to Mary, you know the girl in Nazareth, and give her the good news that I’m about to do something brand new in the world, it’s happening through her, and I haven’t forgotten about her and her people—I’ve heard their cries [sound familiar?].

Can you imagine Gabriel’s response: “God, are you serious? That Mary…the unwed, young, Jewish teenager, female Mary—the ‘nobody’ Mary—just like all the other ‘nobodies’ who live in Nazareth [Nazareth was just a small, poor village on the outskirts, far from the religious center]…that Mary?” God responds: “Yep, that one. Let her know that a new day is coming and it’s not going to be like the one that came before it. And Gabriel, when you show up she’s going to be scared. Let her know that I will be with her every step of the way. Say it over and over again if you have to, ‘don’t be afraid.’ And Gabe here’s the thing, she’s going to have some questions about all of this, and I need you to remind her that she’s my daughter and always will be.”

“Mary, sister, you need to buckle in. Things are about to get wild. It’s goin down and you’re at the center of it all. God hasn’t forgotten about you and your people.”

Can you imagine the conversation between Gabriel and Mary: “Mary, sister, you need to buckle in. Things are about to get wild. It’s goin down and you’re at the center of it all. God hasn’t forgotten about you and your people.” Do you remember Mary’s response from Luke’s Gospel: “How can this be?” Perhaps Gabriel simply shrugged his shoulders: “You are God’s daughter and always will be.”

The plot is so simple, isn’t it? And yet we lose it all the time. Aren’t we—like Gabriel—God’s agents sent out into the world to proclaim good news to those who need it most. Yes, the coming of Christ into the world is a justice issue.

We actually get to announce the new thing happening, not just announce it, but live it. We are called to stand with people—the most vulnerable, the most broken, the most forgotten, the most messed up…we stand with them and proclaim: “Don’t lose hope. God hasn’t forgotten about you. New life is on its way.” How can this be? “You are the sons and daughters of God! God is with you, God is for you and God is on your side!”

So…let’s go proclaim some good news in the world! The world could use some of it!

- Ryan Canaday

Ryan Canaday serves as one of the co-pastors on the Clergy Team at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch. Ryan has a deep passion for new, creative, and meaningful ways of doing church. He also has a deep desire to help people live better and more meaningful stories as they connect with God and the world in transformative ways.