Notes on Luke 1:39-45 for worship at 8:15 am and 10 am, Sunday, December 20th.
An unwed teenage girl arrives at the door of an older woman and announces her pregnancy. The older woman could have responded: “What were you thinking?” Instead she beams with joy and says: “Look at what God is doing in you! I am so pleased that you chose to come to visit me. Thank God for your faith that has already allowed you to recognize what might be accomplished in you and through you.”
These were not merely a hypothetical pair of women, but Mary, the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
– Luke 1:41-45 (ESV)
Life often presents us with unexpected opportunities that challenge and confront cultural norms. By being open to the working of the Holy Spirit in us and through us we get to participate in building God’s kingdom. I suspect that had Elizabeth scolded Mary, she would not have stayed very long. Instead she stayed with Elizabeth for three months providing time for Elizabeth to mentor Mary.
How might we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit? How might we open ourselves to the possibilities of salvation, to God’s blessing, and to promises of fulfillment in each pregnancy and each person?
Bring your dinner to our discussion of Luke 1:39-45 at 6 pm on Wednesday, December 16th. I will have more to say about this passage on Sunday, December 20th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor