Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Being Mary for a Moment

Hi Friends,

Well, I did my two Mary monologues at church last Sunday during the whole fantastic, incredibly moving Great Joy Christmas program.  The whole program was just beautiful.  You can see it here:  

Meanwhile, here's the text of the first Mary monologue -- adapted from the first chapter of my book, Wrestling with Wonder (coming out next Sept from Zondervan).  Mary asks some great questions for all of us this Christmas season!


Christmas changes everything.  JESUS changes everything.  He changed me. 
I’m Mary.  I was his mother.  He changed this ordinary girl, with her ordinary life, in an ordinary village in Galilee.
            It was early in the morning, and my mother had gone to gather gossip near Nazareth’s well.  I stood by the grinding stone (much like today), my fingers sunk deep in the warm dough of the day's bread.  A sound rustled behind me.  I turned. 
And saw him.
            A man, but not a man. Like nothing I have ever seen before.  Tall and strong. Shining. Splendid.
            And absolutely terrifying.
            He looked at me, his gaze like fire in my soul. And he said:
            “Rejoice! Rejoice, favored one, the Lord is with you.”
            He said it again. “Do not be afraid. You have found favor with God.”
Me? Didn’t he know I was just an ordinary girl?
            Then, he whispered one single word: “Behold ...”
But what he wanted me to behold was impossible.
            He said, “Behold, you will conceive in the womb and will bear a son and you will call his  name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David.  And he will rule over the house of Jacob into the ages and of his kingdom there will be no end!”
            What?! I grasped at just the first impossibility.  “How will this be? I’m, um, a virgin.”
            But he didn’t speak of men or of marriage.  He spoke of miracles. He told me the Holy Spirit himself would come upon me and God’s power would overshadow me. And this tiny little baby boy would be called holy, the very Son of God.
            An astounding promise.  But more than a promise. It was a call. A question. Would I leave all my plans, all my hopes, behind me?  Would I lay aside my ordinary life to embrace something impossible?
            “Nothing is impossible with God,” he said.
            “No word from God will ever fail."
            Did I dare believe it? Do I dare say yes? … I knew what it meant. Nothing would be the same again. No one would understand. Could I bear that kind of shame? Could I bear their disbelief? …And more, could I bear that kind of beauty? Could I bear the wonder of it all?
            And in that ordinary moment, on an ordinary day, in my ordinary life, the heavens waited

 . . . Would I give my life for this great, impossible JOY?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Kind of King is This??

Hi Friends,  

Merry Christmas season!!  We decorated our tree over the weekend and got out all our red and green … in hopes of preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration of the coming of Jesus, God incarnate, Emmanuel, God-with-us, into the world and into our lives.  How wonderful is that?!!?

Then, this coming Sunday, our church is having our Great Joy! Christmas event, with orchestra (Bryan, Joelle, and Bethany are all in the orchestra), choir, and two drama monologues.  I'm doing the monologues (my first time doing something like this!!).  I'm going to be dressed as Mary and will deliver the two monologues as her older self reflecting back.  (If you're in the Salinas area, I'll hope you'll come by -- 9am and 10:45am at Salinas Valley Community Church, 368 San Juan Grade Road).

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share the second monologue here.  And while it's told from Mary's point of view, I think it holds questions for all of us.

As you prepare your heart for Christmas, perhaps this script (adapted from my upcoming Wrestling with Wonder book - yay!) will help you see Him in a deeper way.  I hope so!

So, here ya go:

Mary's Monologue: 
Christ was born.  Born in a barn, wrapped in rags, laid in a feeding trough.  We didn’t have a  palace, we didn’t even have a crib, let alone soft silk meant for a king.  The animals were our witnesses.  Lowly shepherds our first visitors. 
            And I thought . . . What kind of King is this?
            I held him in my arms. He nestled, and nuzzled. So normal. So real. He let out a cry, his mouth open, searching. I smiled and guided him to eat.  I gazed down at his pink cheeks, his stock of curly black hair. His eyes were closed, his lashes dark against his skin … this newborn son of mine.
Of Gods.
This … Messiah?
Rescuer. Deliverer. Redeemer. King … Baby.
What kind of King is this?
            He grew up, my Messiah-Son.  And was nothing like I expected.  He didnt conquer Rome, he didnt rule the nations, he didnt raise an army or free Israel . . . at least not in the way I had dreamed.
            Instead, he asked me to face my deepest fear. My darkest doubt. My nightmare.
            A young man came to my door in the night. He came all disheveled and out of breath. He said, “They’ve arrested your son.” Men came—soldiers, crowds, but not only them, the priests came too, the very leaders of my people. They came by night to a garden with their clubs and torches and swords. And they took him.
            They took him to Gabbatha. The place of judgment.
            So, I went there too.  And I stood there, shaking, in a courtyard with a crowd with the sun beating down on us.  And my son, my Jesus, wavering on the platform before me.  I barely recognized him. His eye was swollen, his clothes bloody. He looked like a lamb already slaughtered.
            Oh, God, what kind of King is this?
            He did wear a purple robe, but it was to mock him. And on his head ... Oh ...  On his head was a crown, but it wasn’t a crown of gold, it was a crown made from the thorns of the akanthos bush. And blood ran down his forehead, his cheeks.
            Pilate held up his hand. “Behold … your king!” he shouted.
            But what kind of King is this?
            A king isn’t beaten.
            A king isn’t bloody.
            A king doesn’t die a criminal’s death.
            Or … or does He?
            Pilate spoke again. “What shall I do with this Jesus?”
            The question drove into me like a soul-piercing sword. What shall I do with this Jesus? What shall I do with a Son destined to die?
            What shall I do with this kind of King?