Dear Mary, mother of Jesus, I don’t have a song this morning.
No new news and nothing notable to think on beyond your song, Mary. The angel Gabriel visited you to announce a birth and I am sure you could have handled any announcement, but it wasn’t any announcement, and it would require you to walk in love and not fear.
I see fear everywhere, Mary. I see it on the faces of my neighbors, the political poster boards I drive by, the TV news headlines, my coworkers who face racism and classism, clients struggling to be free of pimps, and undisguised violence. If I focus here for too long, I forget you sang.
I don’t have a song this morning. The leftover night-lights of Seattle glitter. A future clear sky is lit by a pre-wakening sun in red, orange, and pink tones against the darkness still covering our Northwest morning. There are rows of vinyl bench seats covered in dirt from early morning commuters. Faces look down at books, screens, or the floor. People make subtle efforts to avoid the gaze of one another on the 6:20 a.m. ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle.
An hour earlier I was inside my frigid home, beneath warm covers, next to the regular breathing my husband of 17 years. We lay in silence. I felt hot tears spring to my eyes at the thought of leaving his presence and commencing the normal Monday routine. His breathing grumbles in protest of our coming separation. Supposedly, we are used to my graduate school routine. I am not. Sure, I look forward to classes, enjoy clients, and the adrenaline of the unknown; however, I don’t look forward to breaking this communion on Monday mornings.
So, instead of rising with the first round of alarm beeps, I lie still, suspending myself somewhere between his breathing and rising from bed.
Mary, How did you glorify a Lord who would put you in line to lose the most precious gift a mother could have – to use your first pregnancy to be something you would watch come to be a magnet of hate, terror, fear, and war-mongering? I scream as no one can hear me. I yell at systems contrived to keep some out and some in. Power’s greedy appetite does not hide in pretense, it does not need to.
I heard you say;
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.”
And, you were chosen. You were humble. You said yes. You woke that morning and needed to be with someone, and so you went. You sang sweet tones of hope to your cousin, Elizabeth. You knew fear lurked at your door, with the political, social, religious and fledgling violence around you – someone needed to be willing to push back the darkness. You didn’t push it back because anyone doubted you. No, Mary, I see your belief, casting out fear, through the song and warrior resistance to every doubter who would soon come your way.
You spoke truth to your cousin – to the heavens – a truth that lingers in 2019.
I remember who and what lives inside of me.
“Jesus, Jesus, you make the darkness tremble. Jesus, you silence fear…Jesus, you make the darkness tremble…your name is alive, forever lifted high…. your name cannot be overcome….”
The Seattle skyline cannot overcome the bold beauty of majestic mountains and red skies on any winter morning, and especially not this one. Red and orange tones deepen behind the mountains announcing hope and proclaiming freedom. Beauty resonates in brilliance this morning, pushing back the cranes and furious construction continuing to shape the financial future of many on this early ferry. So, Mary, I find my song between brokenness and beauty, in the margins, in the pain. Your song hovers over deep waters, echoes in the trees, lifting my heart, increasing the anticipation of your son’s return.