Joseph P. Mathews
Eve of the Annunciation
24 March 2011
Gen. 3.1-15; Gal 4.1-7
Evensong, Trinity Church, Wall Street
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.” Amen.
On first reading, I thought these texts we somewhere between bizarre and awful for talking about, especially in light of what we’re celebrating. Then I read them again and got it. From the beginning of time God has loved us. God created us in God’s image but we failed as people. God didn’t stop loving us. While our forebears Adam and Eve – however you understand them – weren't perfect, that wasn’t the end of the story. Through all of the Hebrew scriptures God pursues and continues to save God’s people. But starting in our Genesis reading God gives a heads up that one born of human flesh will strike the head of the serpent.
And then God pursued us by coming to be with us and loving us and learning what being us was like. Tomorrow is the feast of the Annunciation, when the angel tells Mary that she’s going to be the mother of God. Nine months before Christmas. Makes sense, huh? But after he’s born Jesus teaches us how to be better – and it’s not by focusing on ourselves. The message he preaches is about loving others and he loved us to be like us. Dwelling among us is a missionary act, where God leaves the comfort zone and comes to be with us. In the same way that God’s love made God leave a place of familiarity, so too are we to leave our places. We have been adopted as Children of God. God loves us and calls us to give of ourselves for others in our love.