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God, a miscarriage, and a Prophetess...

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

"There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. .She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem." Lk 2: 36-38

If God really gave Mary freedom to respond yes

When he asked her about carrying Jesus

What if God had asked before

And that person, let’s call her Anna

Had said,

‘No. Thank you, but no.

It sounds mad, and I am not up for it

Certainly not now, perhaps another time…’

And that other time never came

Or what if it did

And the God of many chances gave Anna another chance

And she said

‘You know, I’ve thought about it and yes, it’s mad

But feck it I’ll give it a go

I’m going to trust you, and believe you when you say

this child will be part of how it will all be different

And what if,

That conception took and held in Anna’s womb

And she felt the signs of this new life for her and for the world inside her

Until that life stopped

Her womb bled out the new life nestled into it

And with it her hope

And her hope for people

And God wept

For this was not part of his plan

But he could not stop it

(For if he can’t stop miscarriage now, then he may not have been to stop it then?)

And so what might have happened to that woman, to Anna?

Maybe things went from bad to worse,

Maybe, she lost her husband too,

A child, her hope, her love, all lost

What if God whispered to her,

I will do all I can to show you that child

And so she waited in the Temple

Trusting, hoping, praying

Seeing mother after mother come with their new borns

Finding it within herself to mother them a little

To hold the baby as the mother rested

Offering cool water and a little food to refresh and revive

Those who had made the journey in heat and not many weeks after giving birth

And maybe she found common ground with Simeon.

Approached as part of another attempt that went awry

-His intended matched with another man-

Or maybe not willing to take on the risk of a sword through her heart, that they realised would be part of this

And so for Simeon too

A promise from God that he would also see this child

That might have been his

Who would be a light for the Gentiles and fulfil the long held hopes of Israel.

Two people, drawn, called, invited and responsive

Into plans favoured by God

Plans that just for one reason or another, did not work out

But years later finding some closure, some still point

After years of longing and waiting

Not having been able to bring the child into the world, but able to recognise it instead

Perceiving who this baby was and knowing what he would become

Announcing that

Not in a hidden stable, like the wise men

But in the Holy Temple, the very heart of their tradition

The home of their shared belief.

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