Mary said to the angel, “How can this be….?”
The angel said to her…“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
(Luke 1:34a, 35a, 37)
None of it made sense. Mary was unmarried, not powerful, poor. As a choice for the mother of a Savior, she was, in a word, imperfect.
On a recent sabbatical, I read about the concept of photography as a spiritual discipline. I discovered several authors who wrote about the idea of imperfection, especially about the artistic practice of Wabi Sabi, a tradition that explores the nature of imperfection, death, impermanence, and brokenness. These artists take pictures of dead flowers and rotten fruits, things not usually considered beautiful, pretty, or “perfect.” As a way of inviting their readers to explore the concept, these authors asked us to make a list of all of the photography “rules,” (i.e. what a photograph is “supposed” to look like.) Then, break them. Go out and intentionally take photos the opposite of “perfect.” At first, I felt like I was doing something wrong. But I began to see that there was beauty even in the brokenness. Eventually, I got the point of the exercise, not to encourage brokenness or revel in imperfection, but instead to realize:
When we can see the imperfect world as still God’s holy world, then we can see ourselves and our imperfection belonging in God’s story of grace.
The story that includes the broken and the weak and the hurting and the imperfect. Just like Mary. Just like all of God’s children, fearfully and wonderfully made. Like you and me. I hope you know that somewhere, on God’s mantle, there is a photograph of you. And when someone comes over to God’s house for tea and cookies, God points to that photograph and says, “that one’s mine.” Not perfect. But mine.
God teach us through the imperfection of the world that your grace covers our imperfection, as well.
submitted by the Reverend Matt Sturtevant