Consent to Love

An article by on December 22, 2017

Consent to Love

Mary replied to the angel, “Here am I, your servant. Let it be according to your word.”

God has brought down the powerful and lifted the lowly; filled the hungry with all their needs and sent the wealthy away empty handed.

My favorite Christmas cantata since I was young is Ralph Carmichael’s, ‘Specially For Shepherds. At its climax, the angels make the announcement of the long-prophesied coming of God’s promised saving grace – a messiah who will make all things right between Israel and God and between all people. They are astounded that they, the marginalized shepherds are entrusted with such a proclamation.

My favorite part, though, is when Mary receives the news that somehow she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit even as she is engaged to another man. A great scandal for a girl in any era, but especially so 2,000 years ago – yet, she responds, “here am I, a servant of the Lord. Let it be, let it be according to your word.” And continues to with, “Come to me, come to me, blessed Holy Spirit, come to me. Fill me now, fill me now, gladly do I give myself to thee.”

Women have been, and continue to be exploited for their bodies, taken advantage of and subjugated because of that very ability to carry a child. But everything about this Emmanuel, God-With-Us, is wholly different. The scripture clearly teaches that it is through Jesus all things came into being – through Christ everything was created, everything was birthed.

Not all can or will carry a child in one’s belly. But, we can conceive the love and awe we might have toward this developing person. We can understand what it means to nurture a precious new life. We know this because we all understand what need we have of it ourselves – a need for someone to be in awe of me, to love me with everything, to care for and nurture me as though I am more precious than the costliest of stones.

This is the love that God has for us. We know and experience that love because of the approximation of it given through others – first our parents (usually, tho not always); then by experiencing that love for others – perhaps our own children – or friends, or spouse, or whomever . . . .

We all possess the capability (as created in God’s very image) to conceive and grow creative life, to give birth to a nurturing love toward other human beings. We are equipped with the capacity to consent, as Mary did, to the presence of God’s Spirit, the creative life and love within.

Whoever loves is born of God, knows God – God is Love. (1Jn4)

In silence, we consent to God’s presence within. From this silence endless internal conversations give way to rest – a relaxing into that Presence.

Then, from consenting to God’s presence within, solidarity is conceived – a growing awareness that we are part of a whole: humankind. Sensitivity develops to the inspirations of the Spirit – in those moments, throughout the day.

And the expression of solidarity is birthed – out of the solitude in God’s loving presence, God loves through us – is birthed through us – to love others, live externally in solidarity with each other and creation.

So, in a moment, I will strike the Tibetan singing bowl twice, a call to enter that internal space where God dwells, then deeper still into God’s embrace.

Slip deep into that solitude and experience God’s love. Allow God’s attention – in creative intention – to saturate and contain you.

And with each breath, exhale the attachments to the grief of not being loved well by someone (perhaps a mother/father/spouse/lover/child/friend). Loosen your grip on the wrongs done to you . . . and suspend all your senses . . .  and just . . . notice the all-encompassing presence of God’s perfect and perfecting love that does – dwell. in. you.

Hear God say to you, “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away . . . let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (SoS2:14)


As I strike the bowl again, invite the Spirit, consent to the Presence, the creation of Love in you – Emmanuel, God-with-Us.

Hear God say through you to another, “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away . . . let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”


Come, Holy Spirit, fill me now. Nurture God’s love. Grow love. Birth love.

As always you can find resources and a transcript of this podcast on my website, There you can also explore the podcast archives and find the 10-day mindfulness challenge.

And today, may you walk at the pace of grace, in love.


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About Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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