Scripture: Psalm 147: 1-11
Key verses: (2-5)
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Reflection: Yesterday at the Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Communion, I shared the Botticelli picture below and this poem by Andrew Hudgins about it. It’s a moment in time during the annunciation, when Gabriel waits for Mary’s consent to the task being asked of her. It’s a task that, with her yes, will mean healing the broken-hearted, binding up wounds, and trusting in God’s future which seems impossible.
The Cestello Annunciation – by Andrew Hudgins
The angel has already said, Be not afraid.
He’s said, The power of the Most High
will darken you. Her eyes are downcast and half closed.
And there’s a long pause -a pause here of forever-
as the angel crowds her. She backs away,
her left side pressed against the picture frame.
He kneels. He’s come in all unearthly innocence
to tell her of glory -not knowing, not remembering
how terrible it is. And Botticelli
gives her eternity to turn, look out the doorway, where
on a far hill floats a castle, and halfway across
the river toward it juts a bridge, not completed-
and neither is the touch, angel to virgin,
both her hands held up, both elegant, one raised
as if to say stop, while the other hand, the right one,
reaches toward his; and, as it does, it parts her blue robe
and reveals the concealed red of her inner garment
to the red tiles of the floor and the red folds
of the angel’s robe. But her whole body pulls away.
Only her head, already haloed, bows,
acquiescing. And though she will, she’s not yet said,
Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord,
as Botticelli, in his great pity,
lets her refuse, accept, refuse, and think again.
Prayer: Lord, help me say yes to your future. Make me bold to trust in you as Mary did. In the name of the One whom she birthed, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].