“… for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:48-49
Luke tells us so much in these few words about Mary, a very young teenage woman. Fear, doubt, and vulnerability are balanced with courage, faith, and strength. This Mary is so different from the assumptions and stereotypes we know of her. Mary could have kept God’s revelation a secret. Instead, she chooses not to go it alone and seeks out community, the community of her cousin Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is quick to see that Mary’s favored-ness has nothing to do with wealth or easiness of life. Her blessing is connected to her trust in God, in her willingness to surrender to the will of God, to believe God’s promises and trust that God will sustain her through whatever happens. She will not be alone. God is faithful.
These two verses are Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s blessing, something that she so needed and would remember all of her life.
In community, we have the gift of glimpsing God among us, within us. In community, our shared fears, doubts and vulnerabilities draw out our courage, faith, and strength. In community we receive the blessing that sustains us, reminds us that God is faithful, renews our trust in God and empowers us to be far more than we can imagine. Like Mary, we are God bearers, God magnifiers, the body of Christ.
Think of a time in your life when the gift of community was just what you needed. I remember how important community was for me when I was first thinking about ordination. There were times when I truly feared pursuing it and doubted my gifts. At such times one of three women would somehow find me and over a walk or coffee and their loving listening, courage and faith would take over and I would leave their presence wanting to sing and dance, blessed by their trust in God and their embodiment of love. So grateful!
Community. Communion. The indwelling of God…The breaking and sharing of bread…The gifts of incarnation… “…for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Gracious one, in whom we live, and move and have our being, we give you thanks for the gifts of community and blessing. Bless our journey inward this Advent season for it is only out of the prayerful place of solitude and introspection that we can hope for community and ministry. Give us courage, faith, and strength for our journey. May our lives truly magnify your holy Name. Amen.