Message from Flame meeting of March19th
We are going to take a look at a very familiar story in scripture, but we are going to view it from a different angle. We are going to look at the story of Jesus’ birth, but focus on the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary. The scripture is found in Luke 1:39-45.
Let me give you a little background first. The angel Gabriel has come to Mary to give her the news that she will give birth to the long awaited Messiah. She asks him, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel explains that she will conceive by the Holy Spirit…and by the way…your cousin Elizabeth, who is said to be barren, is also having a child in her old age. “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Let’s pick it up in verse 39.
Now Mary gets the news she is having a baby, and the first thing she does is go see her cousin Elizabeth! Why? Why does she need to be with Elizabeth so badly? Let’s put ourselves in Mary’s shoes. She’s pregnant… she’s not married…do you know what this means? It’s the ultimate shame of her culture. How is Joseph going to take this? Is he going to want her anymore? What would she do then? And what about her family? If her father rejected her, she would be forced to the streets, to begging or prostitution. Unable to care for the baby. And with her story of being made pregnant by the Holy Spirit…not even a man! Who’s going to believe that one! She’d most certainly be seen as crazy as well. With all these thoughts rolling around in her head, and unable to speak to anyone else about it, she ran to her cousin Elizabeth, the one person she knew she could share her deepest feelings and fears with.
When she arrives in the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah, how is she received? This is so important…let’s find out what Elizabeth said to her young cousin. But first let’s look at what she didn’t say. Here we have a young woman coming to her older relative, her friend. She is pregnant, unmarried. Oh, the things she could have said! “How could you let this happen? You are having a baby…without a husband… shame; do you have any idea what you have done? You have disgraced your entire family! And you! You of all people…you are of the royal line of David! Shame to you and this baby you carry!” Oh what she could have said! But Elizabeth was a woman of God. The Holy Spirit had spoken to her, and she had listened and heard. And these beautiful, loving, words came out of her mouth and went straight into Mary’s heart. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
She called her blessed! She called her blessed…and she spoke a blessing on her unborn baby. Oh, what those words must have done for Mary! God sent Mary to Elizabeth so Elizabeth could just “love on her”.
She gave her what she needed most, unconditional love. She didn’t heap burning coals upon her head; instead she poured love and acceptance on her!
And how it must have encouraged Mary and strengthened her faith!
Considering everything that had happened to her in the last few days, she had to have been wondering if this was real. Had an angel really appeared to her? Was she really going to have a baby? Was He really the Son of God? How can this be? Did she have the faith to believe? Elizabeth’s greeting as she came in the door must have done wonders for her! She believed! She believed what God was doing in Mary’s life! Even though this whole thing appeared impossible! Elizabeth had experienced God in her life. She had seen God do the impossible in her own life, after all she was pregnant wasn’t she? It was a miracle, and she believed He could do the same in Mary’s life. Why wouldn’t He? She believed in the power of God and she shared that faith with Mary, encouraging her. In fact, Mary was so encouraged that she burst into song! A beautiful Song of Praise, called ‘The Magnificat!’
Also, Mary was having a baby for the first time. Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant…she had already gone through what Mary would soon experience in her pregnancy. And those of you who have already had children…I don’t know about you, but when I found out I was having our first baby, the first thing I did was call someone who had already had one and asked questions. How soon did you show? Did you get morning sickness? How bad is this going to hurt? Etc.… they would talk, questions would be answered, fears would be calmed. In fact Mary stayed 3 more months before returning home. Probably to help Elizabeth through her delivery, and the birth of John. She was definitely going to see how this “baby thing” goes!
So what does this scripture say to us?
Unconditional love and acceptance, that’s all, any of us want! We can give that to each other.
We have seen God work in our lives; let’s strengthen the faith of other women by our faith. Let’s believe in what God is doing in each other’s lives, encourage them, support each other…believe in each other.
We can show each other the way… some of us are older, and with age comes experience. We have experienced the joys of a life and the trials of a life.
Win Couchman describes the relationship in this way.
On Christmas Eve, a deep San Francisco-style fog kept our car crawling
blindly along the road. Suddenly another car pulled onto the road right
ahead of us. Because we were now following a set of beautiful twin taillights,
we could safely increase our speed from fifteen to twenty miles per hour. A
mentor is someone father down the road from you, who is going where you
want to go , and is willing to give you some light to help you get there!
We are further down the road. May our light shine ahead of you!
Come on, let’s go …let’s all go …we are going somewhere…we’re going toward Jesus, and we want you to come with us…let’s all go together!