“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.” (St. Luke 1:39-47)
These were two of the most unlikely pregnant women you could ever imagine. One was old enough to be your grandmother; the other was a virgin. The old woman was Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, already over six months’ pregnant with son, John, the Forerunner of the Christ. The pregnant virgin was her younger cousin, Mary, fresh from the news that her Child was the Son of God. Impossible, you say. Don’t be so quick. “With God, nothing is impossible.”
The sound of Mary’s voice sets Elizabeth’s baby kicking, and she is filled with the Holy Spirit. It isn’t everyday that you meet the Bearer of God (Theotokos). Elizabeth blesses her younger cousin and her Child: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.” For those who think that infants cannot have faith or receive the Word, consider baby John jumping with joy in his mother’s womb. Impossible, you say. “With God nothing is impossible.”
Elizabeth, filled with the Spirit, recognizes the importance of the event. She calls Mary, “the mother of my Lord.” Ponder the paradox. Cousin Mary, decades younger, is the mother of her Lord! Impossible, you say. “With God, nothing is impossible.”
Elizabeth extols the faith of Mary. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord said to her will be accomplished.” Mary believed the Word of the angel. She trusted the promise. She was faithful, full of faith that a she would actually conceive a child without a man and that the Most High God could have a Son that would save His people, and her, from their sins. Mary believed and was justified. Sola fide.
The Christian faith is filled with wondrous things: An old woman conceives in her seniority. A young girl conceives the Son of God in her virginity. Sinners are justified before God for Jesus’ sake. The dead are raised to life again.
Impossible, you say. “Nothing is impossible with God.”
“Almighty God, as you deal wonderfully with your servant, the Blessed Virgin Mary, in choosing her to be the mother of your dearly beloved Son and thus graciously made known your regard for the poor and lowly and despised, grant us grace in all humility and meekness to receive your Word with hearty faith and to rejoice in Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” (Collect for the Visitation)
Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:23-40; St. Luke 19:29-48
Higher Things would like to thank the Rev. William Cwirla (Holy Trinity Lutheran Church,Hacienda Heights, CA - firstname.lastname@example.org) for writing this season's Reflections.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.
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