Tuesday 31 May 2016

Bible Book:

] exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’” (v. 42)

Luke 1:39-49 Tuesday 31 May 2016

Psalm: Psalm 113


Luke's Gospel often brings us alternative voices. From theshepherds (Luke 2), the centurion (Luke7) and here two women, he brings to us the voices of all thosewho receive the good news.  In today's passage we have aunique situation within Scripture of a conversation taking placebetween two women.  Only the book of Ruth seems to have anyprolonged and significant conversation of this sort, and much ofthe New Testament is crowded with male voices.  

Mary and Elizabeth were relatives (verse 36), though we cannotsay for certain what relation they were to each other. They wereboth with child, though until Mary arrived Elizabeth did not knowthis. It was as Mary greeted her that Elizabeth felt her child movein the womb and she was filled with God's Spirit. It is in thismoment that Elizabeth triggers a cascade of blessings that willecho throughout the birth narrative (Luke1:45-56, 68-79; 2:29-32).  

The blessings that Elizabeth spoke first (verse 42) was one thatwould echo through all time - Mary will be blessed now and in thefuture. The second blessing that comes in verse 45 contrasts Mary'sfaith with Elizabeth's own husbands lack of it. Mary is blessedbecause she believed that the Lord would fulfil his promise:Zechariah on the other hand questioned the promise given him andwas struck mute till the promise was fulfilled (Luke1:18-20). 

In a song known as the Magnificat, Mary responded to the wordsof her relative by in-turn blessing God for all God is doing. Sheworships God and rejoices in God's actions towards her that willmake her blessed for all generations. At this time it is a song ofjoy that Mary expresses, not unlike the joy expressed by many newparents. In this moment of joy Mary is unaware of the journey aheadthat will see her heart pierced but even with this knowledge herwords of praise would not differ.

To Ponder

  • Who are the significant voices that you listen to today?Parents, politicians, church leaders or friends?
  • Elizabeth's response to Mary's arrival is to bless her and herchild. When was the last time you greeted someone with a word ofblessing or encouragement?
  • Mary's response to the blessing was to in turn bless God. Doyou find that you give thanks to God when you receive complimentsor encouragement? What about in more difficult circumstances?
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