Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon miraculous Elizabeth?
Her salutation sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery. (Thomas Merton)
Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.” (Luke 1:39-45; context)
Because of how we break up the first chapter of Luke in church services, you may not realize that Mary’s story continues. The last we saw of her at the end of last week, she said yes to the angel, who then leaves her alone. This is where we usually end the passage. But notice how today’s begins: “Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands.” The story keeps right on going. And so shall we.
Mary demonstrates the most natural human response to an encounter with God. She goes to tell someone about it. It’s as if the encounter isn’t real until she’s spoken of it aloud. The angel mentioned her relative Elizabeth. Indeed, Gabriel hinted at the miraculous nature of Elizabeth’s own pregnancy, so she seems like the most appropriate person to go and see.
Sharing an encounter with God is the best way to make it real for yourself. But more than that, it is the best way to encourage others to be on the lookout for their own encounters with God. We see this happen immediately. I love this translation: Elizabeth “blurts out.” She just can’t contain her excitement about what is happening to Mary. And because the infant in her womb jumps for joy, she encounters the nascent Christ in Mary’s own womb.
How has God encountered you? And how have you shared these encounters?
Dear God, your presence makes me jump for joy. Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may recognize your movement in my life. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, with a song in my heart about the way you are reshaping this world in the image of your kingdom.