Guest Post: She Pondered in Her Heart
By Alli C
After nearly a year hiatus from scripture reading, I decided this year to give the “Come Follow Me” curriculum a try. Partly because my faith transition over the past year has robbed me of the comfort I used to find in spiritual routines, and I was finally ready to claim that comfort, that part of me, back again. And mostly because the New Testament is very Jesus-centric and very simple. And partly because I like the idea of using different translations for scripture study, which still feels mildly rebellious to me after all this time with the KJV.
These first few weeks, my thoughts keep coming back to Mary. I love imagining her story, and I love that we have some insights into her perspective through Luke’s narrative. I’ve come across Bible historians that theorize Luke may have had direct access to a first-person narrative from Mary herself. I like the idea of that. I like the idea that she told her story to someone, and hundreds of years later we still have this story.
A “Come Follow Me” lesson from a couple weeks ago has an activity on the ways to worship and witness Christ, with a small little table with “Witnesses of Christ” (Shepherds, Simeon, Anna, Wise Men) and the question, “What do I learn about worshipping and witnessing?” for each of them. I enjoyed the activity, but my thoughts eventually came back to Mary. What can she teach me about worshipping and witnessing?
Luke 2:19: “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (KJV)
Other Biblical translations of this verse use the following phrases:
• Gave much thought
• Committed to memory
• Considered carefully
• Treasured these things
• Mulling them over
• Meditating on them
• Thought deeply
• Always thought about them
• Kept to herself
• Holding these things dear
• Continued to think about them
• Thought about them over and over
• Thought about them often
• Often dwelling on them
• Preserving these things
Each phrase is another part of Mary’s story, another way to describe another moment when she sat with these memories and held them close to her heart. Maybe as Sunbeam-age Jesus learned his first words, Mary thought on these things. Maybe as 9-year-old Jesus ran off to play with his friends, Mary continued to think about them. Maybe as her son went off to be tried, and later killed, she thought deeply on all she had seen and heard in her life.
What I learned from Mary’s method of worshipping and witnessing.
First, worshipping doesn’t always have to be loud or showy. It doesn’t always have to look like missionary work, either. In a church that rewards extroverts, Mary’s introverted approach to worship is a powerful lesson on the beauty of private worship and communion with God.
Second, the gospel requires time. The principles we learn in the gospel aren’t always easy to understand. Some days, they make sense. Some days, they don’t. I’m glad that I have a lifetime to sit with my questions and my hopes and think on them over and over and over again.
Third, Mary thought with her heart. Meditating, to me, is spiritual because it is not intellectual. I meditate with my feelings. I can explore the hidden corners of myself, and find what is truly close to my heart. I don’t have to force myself to feel a certain way—I can just accept what I feel, and use my emotions to guide my search for truth. If I feel at peace with a principle of the gospel, I can hold onto it. If I am repulsed by something I hear at church, I can embrace the truth of that feeling and choose to let that teaching go. Being close to my emotions, close to my heart, has been a steadying influence as I try to sort through my beliefs.
I’m grateful for Mary’s story, and I’m sure she has so much more to teach me.
Alli C loves biographies, yoga, public transportation, and cross-stitching. She’s caught in the crossroads of desperately wanting to be a mom and desperately wanting to build a her career and she wishes that affordable child care was a real thing.