The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Friday, October 30, 2009

Riding the Ripples

From one angle of vision, Mary’s rebounding “do whatever He tells you” illumines the kind of peace so anchored in her trust in Jesus that she could hold lightly to her plans and wait in harbor for her Son’s next move.  But from another direction, her initial commentary at the wedding in Cana was itself a risk.  Once the words, “they have no more wine” were out of Mary’s mouth, she was involved.  What was it to her that the wedding celebration was about to wane?

Mary was a woman who had long known Yahweh’s priorities of mercy and care for those who are helpless.  The same Holy Spirit who conceived the Christ in her womb had also brought forth a song of testimony to Jesus’ Father.  It is his nature to lift up those who are struggling and fill the hungry with good things. These truths, so evident in the later ministry of her Son, had not been forgotten once the song left Mary’s lips. 

Mary’s buoyancy (the moment-by-moment adjustment of this vulnerable vessel to the wind of the Spirit) did not begin with her response to Jesus, but with the initial comment itself.  

When she could have minded her own business, she carried the Father’s heart for her neighbor instead.  She did not remain safely in harbor when the wind was breathing in her sails.  She took the risk, and with it, the adventure the Spirit sent.

Move decisively.  Wait patiently.  Hold the two together not as an artificial tension between “doing and being,” but as moment-by-moment obedience, now sailing into the wind, now waiting for the next thing.  Sometimes I am tempted to think of these dynamics as the difference between a storm and utter stillness, but Mary reminds me that the actual choices are sometimes as simple as a word, a look in one’s eyes, a willingness to turn aside in this moment for the sake of one’s neighbor.

It is easy to see love of neighbor as as a mere ripple in the water when what I am waiting for is a dramatic voyage. But perhaps riding the ripples is far more important than I realize. Perhaps this is what most of the voyage is about.  Maybe that's part of what Mary knew.


  1. So beautiful, Carla; beautifully put. How well this gets at the dilemma we face: confusion about God's will and our place in the midst of it. We fight for big waves and big voyages; the Spirit leads beside the still waters. Will we follow? Or will we miss all that He has to offer in the ripples? So thankful for the small ripples that led to the revelation of God's glory, once again over the waters, this time at Cana. Blessings, Janine

  2. This is truly wonderful--both the post and Janine's comment about the Spirit leading us beside the still waters. Thunderstorms can be glorious, butJesus calms the waters so that our boats can bob gently in the ripples. That is where we can hear the small still voice that teaches our hearts and lips to sing like Mary.

  3. It seems to me that being sensitive to the "ripples" of the Spirit's prompting is one of the central ways He is speaking to many of us right now. I wonder if, in a world so filled with "big" drama, the challenge to live with centered integrity in the every-day moments of life is not an important corrective to our culture's hunger for the spectacular.

    Thanks to BOTH of you for the affirmation of the Lord's quieter promptings.

  4. Last year I was involved in a monthly one day retreat entitled, "Contemplative Journey." We spent time in contemplative prayer, but we also spent a lot of time learning to live contemplatively--learning to live on those little ripples of the now of life.
    I believe the Church is being called to live more quietly, more contemplatively and that is how Christ needs to be heard by a frantic, desparate culture so much in need of Christ mercy and peace.