Well, it is night after a very long, but very good day. What has been done has been done. Tomorrow morning we are headed into the desert at 5 a.m. to watch the sunrise, and I will have the honor of presiding at the morning Eucharist there. And then we are off to Galilee. So, not a long post tonight.
Our day began with Holy Eucharist at St. George's on their patronal feast day (and the 65th birthday of the Archbishop) and ended at the Benedictine Monastery of the Resurrection in Abu Ghosh with a lovely vespers service. In between, we spent the afternoon in Ein Karem in the Judean hills where Mary went to see her cousin Elizabeth when she learned that she was pregnant. If you don't know the story, check it out at Luke 1:39-56.
To me the statue on the left just about captures it all. The angel had told Mary, "do not be afraid" just a few verses earlier (Luke 1:30). But here's the thing: I don't know about you, but sometimes no matter how much we want to trust the voice of an angel, it's nice to be able to find reassurance from a treasured friend or family member. It's nice to have someone who can hold your hand, or give you a hug. Both women are in the midst of miraculous pregnancies. But - and I don't mean this to downplay the experience of these two women in any way - aren't they all miraculous, really? These two pregnancies also have the potential to bring potential shame in the neighborhood: one is too old to be having babies, the other is an unwed teenager.
We cannot know what these two women talked about but I imagine they hugged, and at some point Elizabeth told Mary, "don't be scared" and this confirmed and affirmed what Gabriel had said. I imagine they cried and maybe even laughed.
And then Mary found her voice. Mary sings an old song - Hannah's song - but made new in her unique situation. I imagine she taught her son to sing this song as well - a son who got it from an early age that God was at work in his mother's life, and in his.
And again - in no way to minimize that but rather to "magnify" it - ditto with us. God is at work in our lives too, working to bring good, working to change the world.
Tell out my soul, the greatness of God’s word. Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice. Tender to me, the promise of God's word. In God my savior shall my soul rejoice.