Thursday, 5 December 2013

Murders and Mother Mary

Every December I’m hit with the same incongruity. The lovely pre-Christmas season of Advent includes the anniversary of one of the saddest days of my life. Today I’m thinking about how to put these jarring opposites together. 

On December 6,1989, I was a 40 yr. old mother raising three daughters, when 14 young women were shot dead inside a Montreal College. That day, as I sat on my couch watching the news, I wept and howled over injustice and hatred. I was infuriated by these murders, the latest horrifying example of what patriarchal conditioning produces. Now, in 2013, men are still murdering women and girls who won’t obey them.

Like all women, I have experienced my share of sexist insult, hearing males sneer at a lousy baseball pitch, “Ya throw like a girl!”, and being shut out of various “No girls allowed” clubs. Over my lifetime, I have learned how the cultural lie of male superiority has wounded boys and men, also. 
Continuously, since the Garden of Eden, evil has put enmity between women and men. The same evil has estranged humanity from a living connection with our Creator. We want our own way more than we want to learn God’s ways. 

But then there’s Christmas. December arrives and the nights sparkle and neighbours get together and choirs sing and charity increases and our anticipation of the merry miracle rises again.

Advent is the time for waiting, waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s breakthough into our human dilemma. Maybe the mournful anniversary of the Montreal murders reminds me that we’re still waiting for Love to finally win.

Young Mary was minding her own business when a wild and wondrous surprise arrived. An unearthly creature appeared, immediately reassuring her, as angels seem to do. 
“Don’t be afraid, Mary, God is pleased with you!
Breaking news! You will conceive and bear a son,
and you will name him Jesus.
He will be great,
and will be called the Son of the Most High”

Mary’s reaction was “WHAT?”
“How can this be, when I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, 
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be holy;
he will be called Son of God….
because nothing will be impossible with God.”

Mary had no idea of the agony and joy her son would bring her. Nor could she know God’s historic plan for rescuing the human race from self-destruction. But somehow, Mary recognized truth when she heard it, and made her choice.
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.” 

Without understanding, she surrendered to God’s weird ways.
As it turned out, her son would be a famous feminist, so counter-cultural in his relationship to women that 2000 years passed before most of his followers understood the sinfulness of patriarchy. 

Over the centuries of our waiting He has been the source of hope and healing to millions. He is the one who moved Wilberforce to fight slavery, Martin Luther King to protest racism, and Nellie McClung to insist on women’s equal rights.

Yet still we weep and wait.
Still we need to support the Dec. 6 Fund for abused women, work for justice, and struggle against our own self-centredness. 
And while we wait, we can choose to surrender to the puzzling ways of a God we don’t understand. 
We can sing Mary’s song: 
“My soul rejoices in God my Saviour, 
for God has done great things for me
and holy is God’s name.”