Pause

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
[Jesus] comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace –
No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

from “Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord” by David J. Evans (1986)

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Listen

Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”

Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:34-38

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Think

Immediately upon walking into the church the priest said, “Hey, follow me.” Next thing I know I’m standing next to the big thing (a.k.a. lectern) where people read. “You’re going to be our reader for church today.” I’m sure the look of terror on my face said it all. “You’ll be fine. I know you love to read, just do so out loud.” I was 13 years old. I’d never read in front of the church. Decades later, after reading publicly thousands of times, I am truly grateful to my priest for inviting me to do something that was so beyond my wildest imagination.

I’m reminded of this experience each time I read today’s scripture. Young Mary was clearly surprised and understandably perplexed when the angel Gabriel told her that she would be the God-bearer. Yet as the angel proclaims, “Nothing is impossible for God,” Mary opens herself to this calling.

Through clergy, youth leaders, family, friends, even strangers we are often called to open ourselves to ways that God needs us that we would never imagine. Be prepared! You never know when or how that might happen.

Brian Prior

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Pray

Loving God, prepare me this day to hear the still small voice or the loud clanging cymbal that beckons me to that which I have never dreamed or imagined when it comes to serving you. Amen.

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Go

My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

For this day, I know I am a beloved child of God.

Brian Prior

The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior is the IX Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Before becoming Bishop, Brian served as the founding Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane, WA and as Executive Director of Camp Cross. Brian is married with two sons and is an avid cyclist, runner, swimmer, and basketball coach with a life-long passion for working with young people.

Advent Waiting: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

David Burroughs

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