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Saturday, December 20, 2014
Today’s Reading | Luke 1:39–56
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home. (NRSV)
It is really a very ordinary scene as Mary walks into Elizabeth’s home. Each woman is pregnant, so it’s a joyful time of anticipation and hope for them; but just as Mary walks in, Elizabeth’s baby gives her a good kick in the stomach. Elizabeth even says the baby “leapt in her womb,” so it must have been some kick! But anyone who has been pregnant knows that babies do tend to move around a good deal and would probably say it does feel like babies even leap around inside there. What is unusual is Elizabeth’s reaction to this kick. She perceives it as a sign from God and is “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
God comes to each of us in very ordinary ways, giving us signs of God’s love and eagerness to dwell among us. We can find God in all people, any moment, and any situation if we only try. Like Elizabeth and Mary, we need to be open, receptive, and even eager to experience God in ordinary moments. Then we too can be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” And this openness to God can lead to many wonderful and unexpected blessings.
Mary’s response to Elizabeth is one of those blessings. Mary says some of the most beautiful words in scripture, words that countless composers have set to music, words that have nurtured generations. But they would never have been uttered without Elizabeth’s openness to God during a very ordinary event, one that happens every day.
How is God trying to get your attention? How is God kicking you in the stomach? What blessings might be possible if you can find God in something ordinary?
Lord, help me to be open to you, to find you in the everyday moments, to seek your face in every face. Help me be filled with your Holy Spirit so that my soul can magnify you. Amen.
Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music
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