Some call this the upside-down kingdom, but I think it is more accurately called the right side-up kingdom, in which all things are put in their proper place.
In the kingdom of God, the forgotten are remembered.
In the kingdom of God, the small are seen.
In the kingdom of God, the lowly are raised up.
In the kingdom of God, the weak are strengthened.
In the kingdom of God, the proud are scattered and the humble are lifted up.
In the kingdom of God, the hungry are filled.
Mary, with that vision of the right-side-up kingdom of God burned into her heart and mind with the bright flame of the Spirit’s revelation, embraces her call all the more fully as the Bearer of God.
In the presence of this holy revelation, the wall of anger that I had constructed around my heart melted away like snow, exposing my hurt, not for exhibition, but rather for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit whispered, ever gently, ever kindly,
Preacher, bear the Word. Lift up your head. You are called. You are seen. You are valued and treasured. You are of infinite worth. You are included. Not because you are mighty, or wise, or strong, but because I AM. I look upon you with favor. I will lift you up. I will strengthen you. I will fill you to overflowing that my saving action might be made known, even through you.
Exclusion had met its match in the radical inclusion of God.
Those wounds of exclusion run deep for many women in ministry. But what a sacred gift given to us in the words of our sister and mother, Mary! Even though her declaration of God’s inclusion of the most unlikely candidates in God’s great story of redemption was made so long ago, Mary’s announcement soars through the ages and finds a home in us today. We too, seemingly unlikely candidates in the eyes of many, are chosen to bear the Word to the people of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, with that in mind, receive this blessing, Preacher: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45). Now go, and bear the Word.
Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell is a Nazarene pastor, wife, mommy of JoJo and Jack, teacher, lover of learning, and friend. She and her husband, Tommy, have served as co-pastors of several churches. Currently, Stephanie serves as co-lead pastor with Tommy, as well as the worship pastor at Mountain Home Church of the Nazarene, an extraordinary community of believers in Mountain Home, Idaho, and blogs at www.stephanielobdell.com.