Presence. Hope.

Homily 452 – Annunciation
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Ames, Iowa
March 24, 2021
Epistle: (306) Hebrews 2:11-18
Gospel: (3) Luke 1:24-38

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.

I’m fond of saying that God only tells us what is immediately next for us. Sometimes, not even that much.

I’m reminded of Abram, who left Mesopotamia for a place that would be shown to him.

In some respects, being shown where you were headed would have been useless information. You have no frame of reference for places you have never been, and lives you have never led.

Plus, knowing the future gives you an opportunity to stress and worry. It becomes the unknown. Instead of enjoying the journey, we worry about the destination.

I think that is why the angel Gabriel approaches the virgin and starts with “rejoice! Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!”

The idea that the Lord asks us for something – to change our circumstances – is indeed frightening. But something special is there, too: His presence.

He is with the virgin. He is with us.

Gabriel doubles down – no need to fear, he says. You have found favor with God. He goes on to explain what will happen. She will give birth to a Son, and call him Jesus, and he will be a very great and powerful person.

Not a lot of detail there – left out key parts about being rejected, doubted, and then crucified, and resurrected.

But still – the annunciation heard by the Virgin was a message of hope.

We find the same truth in our lives. We need to recall and contemplate these two things.

One, that when God asks us to do something, or go somewhere, it means we have His favor, and He will be there with us.

And two, that in our obedience and faithfulness, we will find hope.

So – as we continue being asked to follow the will of God, do so with the knowledge that the command to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ – be it a change in location, or a change in circumstance, or another kind of change – know that the request comes with the assurance that God is with us.

And the assurance of hope.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God. Glory to Jesus Christ!