Sandra Orr is our storyteller today and she introduces it herself… “Christmas 1990 saw me being commissioned for my upcoming work as a nurse/midwife in North Africa. The story imparted to me on that day was Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel. The power of saying ‘Yes’ to God’s invitation to join Him in everyday mission has stuck with me ever since. Never underestimate the power of your ‘Yes’ and the tragedy of your ‘No, no way!’. I just wonder where would we be today had Mary told Gabriel to ‘Buzz off’”
Gabriel’s Entrusted Mission by Sandra Orr
Heaven’s whisperings spoke of God’s musings. Rumour had it He was looking for a trustworthy courier to send on a very important mission. To planet Earth of all place! Groan! The angelic hosts were well versed in how self-seeking and strong-willed human kind had become. They often wondered if their divine Creator ever regretted creating this speck in the universe He so fondly called ‘Earth’. Not so much the creation of the planet but that of its occupants. Occupants He called ‘His people’. All the angels knew the ‘Ouch’ of failed missions to planet earth. To people who more often than not refused to trust the words heralded to them from on high. The cheek of them!
Gabriel shook when his name echoed through the heaven – the rest of the angels breathed a sigh of relief. As a trusted messenger of old, it was no surprise he was chosen for the task. A summons into the courts of the Most High confirmed recent whispering – God had a very important mission to accomplish. Crystal clear, no room for error or confusion, Gabriel was briefed and commissioned with a sword of light and a seal of authority before being despatched from the courts of God.
The journey to earth was long and lonely but Gabriel appreciated the time to contemplate his task. The lone stars of the outer galaxy bowed at his passing and after some time the glistening lights of the Milky Way were seen on the horizon. This myriad of stars cheered Gabriel on his way. Gabriel drank in the grandeur of it all. What a mighty God he served!
Flashing past Pluto and Saturn he paused to bask in the sun’s warm rays before sliding on the rings of Jupiter. It wasn’t until he passed planet Mars that Earth came into full view. Sitting on the Moon Gabriel stopped to clearly identify his point of entry into the earth’s atmosphere. His instructions were clear – east of the Mediterranean Sea, north of Egypt, the land of Palestine. Gabriel recognised his need to muster up some courage at this point. What happens if she doesn’t recognise him as a messenger of the Most High? What if she does but still tells him to ‘buzz off’? What happens if she doesn’t understand the enormity of the invitation he has been entrusted to deliver? What if she does yet answers “No way! You must be joking!” He could already feel the cold chill of disappointment having to return to heaven with such a response. God’s falling countenance was hard to witness.
Gabriel took a deep breath, smoothed his wings, straightened his gown, firmly gripped his scroll and set off for his final destination. Palestine was a minute country with many towns and villages. Passing the city of David he steered north to the Galilean village of Nazareth. It was late afternoon as he entered the village. Some shepherds were still lingering with their flocks at the fountain and the streets were starting to be cast in dusk shadows. His Master’s directions enabled him to easily locate the house of the maiden tucked away at the end of a narrow street. Phew! He found her alone – in the kitchen awaiting the return of her father and brothers from the fields for their evening meal. Her mother had not yet risen from her siesta. He waited until she stepped back from stirring the boiling pot on the fire before announcing his presence. The last thing he wanted was to frighten her or cause her harm. She was created in the image and beauty of God. A privilege denied to angels.
At the appropriate moment Gabriel cleared his throat:-
“Good evening Mary! You are beautiful with God’s beauty both inside and out! God be with you.” Mary stood transfixed and rooted to the spot. Thankfully she seemed to recognise this messenger of the Most High. God had chosen wisely.“Don’t be afraid Mary. God has a wonderful surprise for you!” Gabriel did his best to be as convincing as possible. “You see Mary, you will become pregnant and give birth to a baby boy. You will call his name Jesus. He will be great and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and His Kingdom will have no end.” “But how will this be?” A perplexed Mary responded “For I have never slept with a man, not even my fiancé Joseph.” “You see Mary, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will hover over you. The child you will bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.” Mary pondered. Gabriel felt a little more assurance was called for. “Mary, even your cousin Elizabeth, who was said to be barren, is now with child. Actually she is six months pregnant. You see NOTHING is impossible with God”
Gabriel could see that moment of truth being embraced in a trusting heart. He could hardly contain his excitement at what was potentially coming next.
Mary’s words poured forth like sweet honey from a comb. “Yes, I see it now: I am the Lord’s handmaiden, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”
This was truly the greatest moment of Gabriel’s life as a messenger. He sensed the enormous significance in that three-lettered response ‘YES’. The way ahead was now open for God to fulfil His purposes. There was hope for this fallen human kind. The key to that hope lay in this young maiden. And she said ‘yes’. His excitement could be contained no longer. Such was the reason for his abrupt departure from her presence. There was no time to be wasted in returning to deliver her response. No lingering in the galaxies allowed. God needed to know as soon and as fast as light could carry him.
“Hey God, You wouldn’t believe it She said ‘YES’!”
‘A Cracked Pot – tales from the heart of life’s journey’
is available at Scripture Union bookshop Dun Laoghaire under the pen name Lizzy Wilson.
You can follow Sandra Orr on Twitter- @zibla17