A shoulder to lean on: Day four
Please enjoy today's reflection from our September-December issue of New Daylight.
A shoulder to lean on
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 fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)
In response to Gabriel’s news that her relative Elizabeth is also miraculously pregnant, Mary makes the journey south to visit her. At once, she has confirmation of her amazing calling, as the Holy Spirit reveals both to Elizabeth and to the unborn John the Baptist that Mary is indeed to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah. In the light of all that we know will follow, the blessing of God that she then pronounces may not appear to be exactly a passport to happiness, but in the light of eternity, we can understand that blessing is perhaps more about the privilege of being chosen, graced, enabled.
What prompted Mary to make this journey? Maybe the need to seek sanctuary from the inevitable gossip, suspicion and disapproval. Maybe the need for reassurance from someone older and wiser, and with six months’ experience of a first pregnancy. Maybe because she sensed that this was a veiled suggestion from Gabriel, a provision from the Lord to support and encourage her through this uniquely awe-inspiring yet challenging time. We can sense the excitement, the wonder, the joy of these two women as the child leaps, Elizabeth shouts out her words of blessing and we can imagine them hugging, laughing and crying with that mix of excitement, trepidation and wonder.
Lord, thank you that, although our own calling may at times be perplexing and difficult, you never ask more of us than you enable us to fulfil. Help us
to recognise your provision for us and to rejoice in your goodness.
Written by SHEILA WALKER
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