Opening Prayer. God, might I discover you anew in the stories of those who are different than me. Might I hear you anew as I listen. Amen.
Scripture. Luke 1:36-45.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Difference Teaches Us. From Rev. Carter Sample.
In this Advent season we all drew companions to journey with us. One often thinks of companions as someone that is similar them, someone who shares an experience and lens that is close enough to their own to relate to. Perhaps that’s not the point of our advent journey.
When I think about companions during this advent season, Elizabeth and I couldn’t be further apart. Not only are we separated by almost 2,000 years of time and culture, but everything about Elizabeth’s situation is outside my sphere of experience. I have no idea what it’s like to be a woman, but especially one in Elizabeth’s shoes. By most standards I’m not “well along in years” (unless you ask the middle school and high school students I work with), I don’t know what it’s like to step into the hopeful and risky journey of trying to have a child, or what it is like to carry around the identity of being a barren woman in a culture that sees that single characteristic as your core sense of worth.
Most people in Elizabeth’s and Mary’s life didn’t know what was going on either. Elizabeth went into hiding for the first 5 months, because no one would believe that she was pregnant. Mary joined Elizabeth for almost three months, knowing that people wouldn’t believe her either. God would not enter into the world with fanfare or in a marketable way that are accessible to the common man. Instead, God would enter into the world through secrets shared among women in hiding.
Perhaps the advent journey is not so much about finding characters that relate to us, but instead meditating on the ones that God selected to be the bearers of redemption so that we might relate better to what God is like.
Questions for Consideration.
Closing Prayer. God of all of us, open me to experience your beauty and goodness by being open to see the world from the perspective of those who are different than me. And in this way, may I learn more of you. Amen.