by Joyce Carr Stedelbauer
Mary’s TRUST was almost immediate, for she accepted God’s will for her after just one question, How can this be? Joseph, her fiancé, had a strong struggle with reason, as most of us do when God is at work and we cannot see what He is doing. Joseph hammered heaven with his questions but he could not see beyond the curtain of stars.
The sun struck the darkness like a Roman sword.
I, Joseph, stood offering my praise to the One
who brought light; O not light
just to begin labor, light in my soul –
the Prophet’s words echoed
like a hammer striking nails,
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
I, Mary, knelt in awe of the startling sunrise,
a haft, striking north to south
a bar of cloud hung east to west.
Would my bridegroom come today?
Hope rose in my breast like Mt. Tabor
rising out of the valley mist ….
I was smoothing the new ox yoke,
to be delivered before dusk –
Hurry to the well, I was strangely alone,
early or late, I did not know, but
I was not alone – a luminous presence –
all the stars of heaven caught in his cloak –
silvered words pour over me –
She came running, stumbling,
grasses clutching her skirt,
struck me like mortal blows –
My beloved, Joseph, I have wounded you –
Thunder heads charged,
arrows of rain tore my beard –
falling to my knees,
hammering heaven with questions –
why, God, why?
Dearest, soft words –
cutting as your sharp ax –
strike me too….my love for you is as pure and sweet
as the snows of Mt. Hermon –
God, I trusted You, wanted to please You –
even serve You in some small way –
polishing the plow handles an extra time,
not to scar the buyer’s hands –
O God, why me?
What about her – my love – my joy?
We have been circumspect, honorable,
patient against all desire.
God, I do not understand!
Can I hide her – protect her – send her away?
My God, what did she mean about the Holy Spirit?
If you had only heard the Angel’s words, maybe then
you could understand why I responded –
I am the handmaid of the Lord:
let it be to me according to your word.
Darkness crashes like Jericho’s wall.
Twisting on my mat restless as wind,
chasing sleep to still the hammer –
the Angel’s sword sliced the sound – He spoke –
words of molten silver searing my soul –
Joseph, son of David, do not fear –
I could not know that one day
that scoundrel Matthew, that tax collector,
would tell you what was said –
Reference: Matthew 1
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