It could all have gone so badly.
Gabriel: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary: “What in the world? Who are you?”
Gabriel: “This is God’s Angel, Gabriel. Can you please answer a few questions so I can verify that you are the correct ‘Mary?’”
Mary: “I beg your pardon? Who are you? How do I know you are really God’s Angel, Gabriel? Nobody around here as ever seen an Angel before. You could be an impostor or a terrible salesman.”
Gabriel: “Well of course it’s God’s Angel; here’s my ID badge. Now, I really need that you please prove it’s really you…”
Mary: “That badge could be fake. I looks like it came from the Dollar Store.”
Gabriel: “Yes, well, what about my wings?”
Mary: “Very impressive, I’m sure, but I require at least two legitimate forms of identification that aren’t physical attributes or purchased from the Dollar Store.”
Gabriel: “Oh for heaven’s sake…”
In today’s world we are extra careful making sure that we know who we are talking to. We don’t want to be fooled; we don’t want to be scammed; we don’t want to victimized. While we are cautious and seek to verify that folks are who they claim to be, we often have to prove that it’s us as well. A lot of on-line interactions require a two-step verification process that involves both a password and a security number before getting to where you want to go or doing what you need to do. That’s the reality of our modern day existence. Without verification of our mutual identities, very little can happen.
When Mary was sought out by God through the Angel Gabriel, there were no identity checks. God knew to whom the Angel should speak, and Mary instantly recognized God’s messenger. She might have been nervous, but there appears to be no doubt that Gabriel was truly an Angel sent by God.
When God is really talking to you, you just know. You know you’ve been blessed by an Angel when an unexpected kindness comes your way. You know it’s God at work when a locked, sealed and barricaded door finally opens. You know it’s God speaking when you say just the right thing without thinking about it. You know it’s God reaching out when you feel genuinely loved by the person sitting next to you.
Occasionally, God speaks to us through Angels and their glorious presence requires no verification. More often than not, God speaks or reaches out to us through the people around us, family, friends, strangers serving as God’s palpable presence in our midst. In those blessed moments, no verification is need. When God reaches out to us, God makes sure that we know who it is.