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Speaking to the Soul: Baring his Arm

Speaking to the Soul: Baring his Arm

Feast of the Annunciation

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 85 (morning) // 87 (evening)

Isaiah 52:7-12

Hebrews 2:5-10

The instructor of my week-long driver’s ed class had a great technique for getting the attention of a group of fifteen-year-olds. She waited until all of our parents had left and then rolled up her left sleeve. With her bare arm exposed, we realized that this seemingly meek, modest, and middle-aged woman had another story to tell: Her arm was covered with tattoos. It turns out that she had a long history of riding motorcycles, and we therefore respected all of her wisdom and warnings about the dangers of the road.

Today, God bares his arm to us. The image of God baring his arm is strongly associated with the birth of Jesus from Mary. We’re celebrating today the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son. Our first reading this morning, in commemoration of this moment, declares, “The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations.”

In another moment associated with Mary’s pregnancy, she sings the text known to us today as the Magnificat. This song includes the words, “He has shown the strength of his arm.” With his arm’s strength, God has cast down the mighty and lifted up the lowly, and has filled the hungry and sent away the rich.

God bares his arm for us in the incarnation. He exposes his flesh and veins to wounds, and he reveals his strength for doing justice in an imbalanced world. Like the arm of my driver’s ed teacher, I hope that the bared arm of God comes to us as a surprising revelation that wins our trust. God is reaching out to us in Christ, and we are in very good hands.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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