Pastoral Series

Prayer: Good Company

  Mary, barely able to absorb the news of her destiny, went on a long, arduous journey to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth. Eighty miles it is from Nazareth to Ein Kerem, where this elegant statue commemorates her visit. Fascinating: facing the most daunting time of her life, she doesn’t hole up in the house, but pays a visit to someone she loves and trust. Lots of times for us, the right person we need is at some distance.

She needed the company. She needed a confidante, someone to share the uncertainty, the weight of it all. Whom do you need in challenging times? Are you this sort of person for someone else? My friend Rev. Jeremy Troxler wrote a lovely piece recently suggesting that Elizabeth was a mentor to Mary. We might think a mentor is some amazingly successful person who tells you what to do. But like all stellar mentors, Elizabeth is a great listener, a great encourager. She sees goodness and beauty in Mary. She trusts her. She joins her on her journey.

Their meeting is one of the most moving moments in all of Scripture. These two women, unexpectedly pregnant, simply together, children in utero, talking, and even singing together. So much love.

In our carols we sing things like “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Oh what fun it is to ride” and “Through the years we all will be together.” Lots of us go somewhere, to be with the same people year after year. When we do so we are like Mary, sharing self and fear and hope and love with someone far away. We need this somehow.

Take a few minutes and read the story of their visit: Luke 1:39-56. Ponder them. Picture them in your mind. Try to feel John kicking his mom’s side, and Mary’s blushing delight. Imagine their voices, and their embrace. Maybe you’ll want to reach out to someone and share what Mary and Elizabeth shared. As God said way back in Genesis 2, “It is not good to be alone.” If you feel you don’t have a friend, try someone – or pray for a friend. God wants us to have some company on this journey.

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