Last night/early this morning I wrote about the 3rd week of Advent. It’s the 4th week, I can’t keep up. Anywho, listening to the daily prayer and I was struck again by the text but I made that “WhachutalkinboutWillis” face. The scripture is Luke 1:26-38, another long, single reading. I’m rather enjoying those. It talks about the interaction between the Angel Gabriel and Mary.
The narrator invites you to set the scene with your imagination but I was more concerned with, what I perceived to be a double standard. See, in the text, the reader notes that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, greeted her and she, being human “Pondered what sort of greeting this might be”. He told her of her favor with the L-rd and what would come to pass. Mary then said to the angel “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Gabriel explains the Immaculate Conception and adds that her relative Elizabeth, Zachariah’s wife, in her old age has also conceived a son, to which Mary respond “Here am I, the servant of the L-rd. Let it be with me, according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Now, 6 months earlier, the Angel Gabriel visited Zachariah and gave him a message. Him being human asked “How will I know that this is so for I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.” Gabriel explains who he is and why he is there, then says “But nigh, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak until the day these things occur.”
Now is it me, or does there seem to be a double standard here? “How will I know?” “How can this be?” both seem like valid questions to me, particularly when someone out of the blue appears with news/a message that is going to significantly change your life. You can’t help but wonder, so why then was Zachariah “punished” for his disbelief/doubt and Mary was not? The reader nor the text offers any indication as to whether or not Zachariah followed up his comment with acknowledgment and affirmation the way Mary did but it also doesn’t offer any indication that he was given opportunity. May Zachariah should have spoken faster.
A lot is made about questioning G-d but if Mary had questions/curiosity, it stands to reason that we would too. I believe in questioning G-d. I will never know what I need to know if I don’t ask questions. Now if I ask a question and he tells me “don’t worry about it, let me do what I do” okay. I’ll stay in my lane. We are taught that we should give all our problems, troubles, cares, woes, etc. over to the L-rd and he will take care of it all. Eh, I’m not so sure. I listened to a live streaming of my cousin’s husband preaching and he said something that was so spot on, I literally said “That’s it!” out loud. He said, and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have my notes, wherever he was in life, whatever he’d achieved, it wasn’t all G-d. G-d helped but he helped too. It was a partnership. I think that ties into that whole faith without works is dead thing. If G-d sees you working, then he’ll work. If you aren’t working, he’ll still work but maybe not as hard. Isn’t there something about G-d helps those who help themselves? Maybe that’s how faith works. He starts you off, you have to take it and do something with it, once he sees you doing something with it, he’ll help a little bit more. The more you do, the more he does. Seems fair to me. But I digress. I’m still on this double standard thing. Why the difference when both people responded in a similar manner? Could it be that Zachariah was fearful and Mary was perplexed? Fearful, perplexed, isn’t that just semantics?
Wikipedia defines double standard as: the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.
Merriam Webster defines double standard as: 1) Bimetallism, 2) a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another; especially : a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men.
This is why I love the Advent season. It allows me to go deeper and learn more. Yeah, I’m always learning throughout the year, but the learning seems to be better around this time of year because of the expectation of something so great. Much is made about Christmas, Jesus, Santa. It’s not really his birthday, there is no G-d, there is no Santa, etc. Not preaching, just making a written observation. Why does it matter to someone else what another person believes? Whatever a person believes, that is their truth and who are we (society) to tell them otherwise? This includes all the crap that went on with this, I can’t even really call it an election but for the sake of being consistent, this election. Some things are blatantly wrong but if the person perpetrating the wrong thinks they are right, do you really think you are going to convince them they aren’t? This “election” has, IMHO, made us all Zachariahs and Marys: fearful, perplexed, dumbstruck. And if ever a double standard were present, it is never more so than with the current POTUS and the POTUS-elect. #whatailsya