Mary Said “Yes!”
(This one is actually a play)
Luke 1:26-28 (New Living Translation)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings,favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel[f] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Gabriel: I can’t believe she did it. She actually did it. I need to tell someone. Dina! Dina! Over here! Come here. She’s not coming. Oh no, she is. Let me go to her too. I have to tell her. Let me jog a little. Wait till she hears this! It happened! She said yes! Dina! She said yes! She can’t hear me yet. Don’t you hate that? When is it appropriate to start talking when you see someone from far off? I never know. Oh hey Dina. Guess what?!
Dina: She said yes?
Gabriel: Oh, you heard that? Well, why didn’t you say anything? I’m freaking out over here and you’re just walking toward me like it’s nothing. She said yes! Can you believe this?
Dina: Of course, I can believe this, Gabriel. Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re beyond impressive. We all are, really. You glow, you’re nine feet tall, your wings probably barely fit in Mary’s room, am I right?
Gabriel: How’d you know?
Dina: I know stuff. But more so, he knows stuff. Would the creator of the universe, the promiser of every promise, the rainbow rider, Leviathan slayer, salvation supplier, way-through-the-sea maker, zebra stripe artist, head-hair enumerator…
Gabriel: I got it.
Dina: [Ignoring him] Wildfire whipper, earthquake inhibitor, hurricane humbler, whale-song interpreter, mountain mover, canyon crevice consultant, well of every gladness, joy architect, stream of healthy bones and blood, quick of everything that has breath…
Gabriel: [Overtop of her] I got it
Dina: Almighty God send you to a woman who would say no. Of course she said yes.
Gabriel: Dina, don’t do this.
Dina: Don’t do what?
Gabriel: Don’t rain on my parade. Our parade. Everyone’s parade.
Dina: Does everyone have to be as excited about everything as you are?
Gabriel: Yes! Yes! Yes! She said yes! Yes! This is not an ordinary yes. Mary is not an ordinary woman. This was not an ordinary mission. Do you know how many times we’ve been this close [holds fingers close to thumb] to finding someone like her. By the way, “zebra-stripe artist,” that’s a nice one, hadn’t heard it before.
Dina: I decided I’m never going to repeat myself again.
Gabriel: What about the “Almighty God” part.
Dina: Well that’s the punch line, it’s like my signature sign-off, that one’s different. That’s how I end every list. That’s my thing.
Gabriel: Ok, ok, but seriously, that’s really great. Are you writing any of them down? You totally should.
Dina: But isn’t that kind of cheating? I’m trying to hold all the goodness in my mind. I’m clearing out space for these. It’s going to be all God in here. [Points to head]
Gabriel: Love it. So, as I was saying, do you know how many times the Zebra Stripe Artist has been this close to sending me to another woman? How many years have we been waiting for her? God told Isaiah about this 700 years ago, but he told me a couple hundred years before that.
Dina: I don’t get into time as often as you do, Gabriel. Which one is longer, a day or a year?
Gabriel: A year, so 900 years is a long time, ok?
Gabriel: So we’ve been waiting a really, really long time to find someone like Mary. I’ve been scouting them out for a few hundred years now at least. … What?
Gabriel: You’re still not impressed?
Gabriel: This isn’t impressive?
Dina: I live as an impression of the Divine Will. I am impression personified. I am because he is.
Gabriel: No, but Mary. She said yes. It was a really long time. You’re not at all moved by her movement?
Let me try. I’ve been up and down the Jordan looking for her, waiting, listening, watching. This has been my major assignment for close to a millennia… and I know you don’t get the whole time thing very much, but go with me here. This is big. This is the biggest. Dina, as my friend, at least, celebrate with me. She said yes!
Ok, at least now you’re smiling.
Sometimes God would send me to check someone out, sometimes I would find someone on my own and think, she has to be the one, and I’d tell God about her, and he’d be like, you think I don’t know about her? And I’d be like, oh, yeah, oh, yeah, you’re God. But I really like her. And then he’d laugh. “I like her too” he’d say, but not yet. It’s not now, it’s not her. Ask Uriel, he went on a couple trips with me. There was this one woman in Bethlehem—we almost always looked in Bethlehem, because you know, that’s what the prophecy said. I can tell you the name of every child bearing woman alive in Bethlehem right now, as a matter of fact—anyway, this one woman in Bethlehem that Uriel and I were watching this one time was so perfect for the job. Faithful, engaged to be married to a temperate man, a priest—she had this spark to her. Other women looked up to her, even married women, older than her. She was a leader. She organized a merchant guild of sorts among the weavers in town. She would have been excellent. So we came back to God and told him all about her.
We did the “you-don’t-think-I-know-about-her” gag. He laughed but then he listened to us gush about her. God was patient. He heard us out but then he was like “Of course I love her for all the reasons you mention, and many more you don’t even know about, but she’s not the one for us. The man will never go along with it. Let’s wait.”
God was waiting for something I didn’t totally understand. His picks were always surprising me. And Mary was no exception. First of all she lives in Galilee, but apparently God has a plan for that, he’s so nonchalant about it too—he’s blowing my mind with this non-Bethlehem woman—she’s like 100 miles off my list—and he’s like “yeah, I said Nazareth, just go with it. Just go with it, Gabe.” So I go. I go to Nazareth and come to find out she’s super young. Way younger than I was thinking. How could she have enough courage, wisdom, heart? But as I watched her my heart stirred with whatever it was God saw in her and I began to see her the way I had seen the others. She is kind. She is so kind. When people weren’t looking she fed the birds. She sang to them too. One morning she was out at the edge of town and I promise you the birds were singing with her. Harmonies and all. Have you heard a bird-human duet? Beautiful. She is gentle with her little sister, doing the lion’s share of caretaking during the day while her mother works. She loves the scriptures. Her uncle is a priest and he lets her listen in on his lessons at the synagogue. Before she goes to bed, she recites what she learned that day. I haven’t heard her miss a beat yet. There is a wisdom in her ready to bubble out any minute, I’m sure. Even brighter than the yes that made me run you down today, Dina. [abruptly interrupting himself] I’ve gone on long enough. I just had to tell someone about what just happened.
Dina: Did you tell Snowflake Geometry Innovator?
Gabriel: God? Yes, I just came from there. [Aside] That one was alright.
Gabriel: [Nods head] God’s overjoyed. But he didn’t have time to celebrate. Something serious is happening, even right now. I wasn’t sure if she was going to go for it. I mean I said all the things I was told to say, but you never know with humans. They can disobey. They can say no.
Dina: Isn’t that crazy?
Gabriel: Yeah, I don’t get it. But I think it’s kind of the point of it all.
Gabriel: [Staring off, whispering at first then louder with his eyes closed] “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!
Dina: Ok, now you’re getting to me. Is that what he told you to say?
Gabriel: Mmhm. And Mary answered, and it wasn’t doubt. No, not like Zechariah last month. It was curiosity when she said “How can this be?” How can this be? How can this be? How can this be? Those words are like honey in my mouth when I think of her saying them.
Dina: So what’d you say?
Gabriel: God told me how it would happen. I’ve been waiting to explain this to one who would agree for so long. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Dina: The word of God will never fail.
Gabriel: The word of God will never fail. I think it’s not failing right now. Mary’s yes has made something happen. I imagine that, by now, she must be with child. Jesus is knit in Mary’s virgin womb.
Dina: There’s a whole new set of names for him now. Baby Becomer, Time Traveler, Emmanuel, Human Being and Uncontained God!
Gabriel: Yes, yes, yes.
Dina: And Mary’s got a couple of new names too. First one is Mother of God.
Gabriel: Is Yeser a word?
Gabriel: She called herself “The Lord’s Servant, may it be to me as you have said.”
Dina: And it shall be as you have said — as he has said. But she can’t know that like we do. She has seen so little, I’ve had breakfasts that are longer than her life.
Gabriel: Now you’re getting why this is such a big deal?
Dina: I never said it wasn’t a big deal. I just didn’t get why this was anything new. We live in miracles. We’re angels. The Glorious One’s glory isn’t a surprise.
Gabriel: You haven’t used “Glorious One” yet?
Dina: Not since I started this new thing.
Gabriel: The Glorious One’s glory is steady, but I’d hate to never be surprised by it. Now his glory is human, and his human mother agreed to it. That’s, that’s, that’s … too much for words.
Dina: I think you’re right. Even if it was always the plan, it doesn’t make the results any less astounding. Mary has no idea what she’s getting into, her human mind cannot comprehend the magnitude of what she now contains. But she knows enough to be terrified, and in the tremendous moment, she prays a yes, “May it be to me as you have said.” The Courageous One should be her name.
Gabriel: Because she said yes.
Gabriel: Mary said yes!
Gabriel: Mary said yes!!!