In this beautiful, powerful passage, we witness something great. Here, two of the first named prophets of the New Testament greet each other, rejoicing in the work God is doing in their midst. Mary and Elizabeth are most often lauded for their works of motherhood. Mary is most often spoken of in terms of her virginity, while Elizabeth is focused on in her “barrenness” leading up to her pregnancy with John. Both of these common signifiers brush past the vibrancy of these women as they appear in our scriptures, inviting us to flatten them and gloss past their full character.

In the New Testament, Mary and Elizabeth are the first to know of God’s audacious, scandalous, world-upending plan. In response, both cry out in songs of praise, blessings on their journey toward birth and God’s coming work. They prophesy to the nature of God and the coming Christ. They know deep within themselves the truth of what God has done for them. They can recognize what God has done in the life of the other, and share joy in the anticipation of what will come.

Many of us are not used to hearing Mary and Elizabeth described as prophets, or as heroes engaged in dangerous work. But just as other biblical heroes made great proclamations of faith and set their lives on the line, so too did Mary and Elizabeth. Their faith and recognition are constant examples to us. Rather than defining them by their sexual status or proximity to parenthood or hemming them into sanitized visions of saintly, unattainable motherhood, we can hear Mary and Elizabeth call us into God’s revolutionary world—one of great risk but also of great, leaping joy.

God, make us like Elizabeth. Let us shout in a loud voice when a blessing walks into our midst and take notice when something within us leaps with recognition of your divine presence. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 1:39-55

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Lectionary Week
December 13–19, 2021
Scripture Overview

As Christians we understand that our faith is rooted in the ongoing story of God’s faithfulness to God’s people. Micah celebrates this story, prophesying that the true king of Israel will one day come from the small village of Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace. Luke features women prominently throughout his Gospel. The two readings from Luke this week highlight the prophetic insights of Elizabeth and Mary. Mary visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John, God’s messenger. After Elizabeth identifies Mary as the mother of the Lord, Mary breaks into song, understanding that her story is tied to the fulfillment of God’s promises going back to Abraham. Little does she know that her son will one day offer his body as a sacrifice for all, as Hebrews tells us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Micah 5:2-5a. What small beginnings have yielded great results in your life?
Read Psalm 80:1-7. What is your song of praise to God today? How will you share it?
Read Hebrews 10:5-10. How does your body help you to experience God?
Read Luke 1:39-55. How has God spoken to you through a joyous meeting with another person?

Respond by posting a prayer.