Hannah, Elizabeth, and Mary
This Sunday, we get the best gospel story ever, the visitation of Mary and Elizabeth. But I am not preaching Sunday (more on that in a minute), so I want to say a little something about Mary and Elizabeth here.
Something big (really big) happened for Mary, so she went with haste to see her elder cousin Elizabeth. Something big was happening for Elizabeth, so she welcomed her insightful cousin Mary with joy; and together they celebrated and Mary sang using the joyful, subversive, radical words of Hannah’s song from 100s of years earlier.
Time did that accordion-thing that time does when big things are happening and Hannah accompanied Mary, who accompanied Elizabeth, who accompanied Mary right back. Three women with unlikely pregnancies, born in three different generations, leaning into one another’s presence.
I am grieving this week. Tomorrow, my family is bringing our one-year old pup, Gabriel, back to his breeder. After so much training, behaviorist help, and veterinary attention, it has become clear that he is tragically wired to be fearful and aggressive toward people he doesn’t know. So, we have chosen to re-home him rather than putting visitors to the rectory at risk. Our hearts are broken.
I tried to keep this to myself- but such grief is not meant to be bottled up, and of course it spilled out. Katy and Chris discussed which of them would preach in my place this week. It will be Chris (look forward to homework). The coffee chat crew grieved with me. And I felt myself held in faith community.
I see it all the time; this Hannah/Mary/Elizabeth accompaniment. I felt it in the response to our losing Gabriel. I hear it in your prayers for one another. I feel it in the way we gather together with such care in a pandemic. I see you grieving and reaching out toward one another’s grief, rather than avoiding it. I see the Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth in you.
This is what we are called to in Advent, to bring our joy and sorrow, our surprise and confusion, our mysteries and epiphanies, into the hill country of one another’s realities, and to stand together singing of how the mighty will fall and the lowly will be raised up, and love will arrive, through us, and for the sake of one another.
Yours in Christ,
* featued image of Visitation c.1200, unknown artist, public domain
Tags: Rector's Reflections