Following Mary’s Example

By Reverend Andy Fleming, Chaplain

Over the past week, I’ve witnessed a variety of responses from Year 12 students as they complete their final Secondary School exams. From the stark realisation that they’re about to go into the 'real world' they’ve heard so much about, to the relief and utter joy of finally finishing school.

Having a son finishing Year 12 myself, my parenting ability is being put to the test. I try my best to support him as he begins to navigate moving from the safe haven of Radford College to the next chapter of his life. I imagine there are a number of Radford parents going through similar experiences.

The Annunciation by Margaret Solomon-Bird

In the story of the annunciation – when Mary is told by the angel Gabriel that she will give birth to Jesus, I imagine she must have felt somewhat unsettled. She must have had some apprehension for, not only her future, but also that of baby Jesus.
In the ancient culture in which she lived, there was great personal risk to Mary for bearing a child out of wedlock. Coupled with the excitement of Gabriel’s news, I imagine that this must also have been an emotionally overwhelming time for her. Perhaps Mary’s story is an invitation to sit with those who are experiencing conflict and inner turmoil.

Despite our fears and uncertainty, we are meant to seek out the opportunities to move through challenging and sensitive times together, just as Mary did with Jesus, and Jesus did himself.

I can remember holding my son for the first time and being fearful of dropping him. The doctor noticed this and remarked that the fear I felt in that moment would be nothing compared to when he was a young man finishing school. Fortunately, this is far from the reality, as we share in our son’s joy as he celebrates the milestone of completing school.

Perhaps connecting with others and being able to share the things that both unsettle us and bring us joy, is what gives us peace and hope.

Go in peace,
Rev. Andy