URC Daily Devotion Tuesday December 21, 2021The Reverend Sue Henderson
Tuesday December 21, 2021
St Luke 1: 39 – 45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
The teenage Mary, newly pregnant, makes her way through the hilly country to visit Elizabeth. As soon as she sees her, Mary understands that at least a part of what the angel said is true, for Elizabeth is well advanced in her pregnancy.
Elizabeth speaks – Why am I so favoured that the mother of my Lord should come to me? They sound so much like the words her son will speak to Jesus some thirty years later – I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?
There is a beautiful humility to both Elizabeth and Mary. There is also a deep sense of overwhelming wonder of being caught up in the purposes of God.
For the same Spirit that worked in Mary is alive and active in our world. That Spirit brought life and light into the world in the person of Jesus – and still brings light and life to the world in people like us. Mary wasn’t an important person – she was ordinary. We aren’t important people, we are ordinary. God worked a work in Mary and God can work a work in us.
That light and that life cannot be destroyed.
We are ordinary people, but with an extraordinary task to perform – for we are to be co-workers with God. We are not called to be spectators – willing to criticise but unwilling to act – willing to moan but unwilling to take a risk. Those who are open to God cannot be spectators.
It’s not always easy to discern the significance of apparently ordinary events. Transformation is usually gradual, and the impact is over time. Evolution is more comfortable than revolution. Yet the effects might well be revolutionary – a change in perspective or attitude, a life-changing experience, the fulfilment of great expectations.
Living God, help us to express our joy and love as we praise you each day. Forgive us for letting our doubts and hesitations interfere with our obedience to your will. Give us courage to obey your commands and to respond to your promises in faith. Thank you for the gift of life, and all the blessings you shower upon us.
The Reverend Sue Henderson retired minister and member of United Church Bradford on Avon