Mary, who had been visited by an angel, now quickly goes to visit Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, we read that “the child leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41) – the child, whom Elizabeth would later insist – in spite of what her relatives and neighbors said – should be called John (Luke 1:57-66).
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Here is sister conversation across the generations. Elizabeth is the first to witness to the identity of “my Lord” and his incarnation into the world. Indeed, it is the first proclamation. Mary hears surety and feels security in the arms of her relative, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is more than a “mere” relative; she is a sister in faith. What was unheard of, even frightening, became shared faith, bold exclamation, and deep humility. Elizabeth blesses and honors Mary in asking why she should have the privilege of receiving Mary’s visit, why she should be part of God’s sending the Messiah, the promised one, God with us, Emmanuel, to be carried with Mary and among us all.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Mary and Elizabeth, sisters across the generations” by Norma Cook Everist in the May 2016 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate the Visit of Mary to Elizabeth.
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