Dear friends in Christ,
I am writing this on May 31, the Feast of the Visitation. When Mary, newly pregnant with Jesus, journeys from Nazareth to visit her cousin Elizabeth (pregnant with John the Baptist) in the countryside outside Jerusalem. In the scriptures, the main event in this visit is Mary’s song of praise – the Magnificat. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
Lovely and powerful as that is, I wish we had more stories of their time together. How did they pray and think together about what God was up to in their lives and in the world? Did they have times when they were confused? Angry? Surprised? Overwhelmed? Delighted? I hope they talked it all out. I hope they sang and danced and laughed and cried and hugged. Because when God’s up to something and you’ve decided to be a part of it, you need your people around you.
I’m glad Mary and Elizabeth had each other. I hope you each have people, too. One of the texts for today is from Romans: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Joy shared multiplies, and sorrow shared consoles. I’m guessing Mary and Elizabeth did some rejoicing, and some weeping. Life is like that.
One of my favorite parts of ministry is visitation. The chance to sit (or walk) with you and hear your joys and sorrows. To think with you about what’s going on in your life and where God is in it. Sometimes I hear things like “I didn’t want to bother you,” or “I figured you were busy,” days or weeks after a difficult time. I hope you never hesitate to reach out to share sorrow or joy, grief or gladness. My greatest privilege is to rejoice with you when you’re rejoicing, and weep with you as you weep.
I am so grateful to be among you.