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'' photo (c) 2008, Randy OHC - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Here is a sermon about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth.  It looks at why we need a family of faith and why it is best not to try to be a lone ranger Christian.

Why We Need Each Other
A Sermon on Luke 1:39-56

How welcome Mary’s presence was to Elizabeth.  After years of unanswered prayers and living with the pain of infertility, suddenly, in her old age, Elizabeth was pregnant!  Nobody but her husband, Zechariah, knew it, however, nor knew that this child, John the Baptist, was destined to herald the coming of the Savior.

For five months Elizabeth stayed in seclusion.  In spite of the wonder of her news, she was largely alone.  It was not even possible to speak openly, at length, about it with her husband.  Zechariah, remember, had been speechless ever since he received the angel’s news of John’s impending birth.  He had been reluctant to trust the promise, and so the angel told him he would be mute until after the birth.

This meant that Elizabeth seldom if ever heard the sound of another human voice for months.  Imagine the isolation!  How welcome Mary’s coming was!  How joyous her arrival!  How good it would be to hear another human voice!

Elizabeth was a welcome sight to her young kinswoman, Mary, too.  Mary herself was in the early stages of an unexpected pregnancy, and it wasn’t problem-free either.  Things weren’t happening for her in the order they were supposed to happen.  Teen-aged Mary was promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, but they weren’t married yet. As we saw last week, Mary was perplexed at the angel’s announcement.  “How can this pregnancy be?” she exclaimed.  “It will be by the power of the Holy Spirit,” God’s messenger answered.

Mary then said “yes, let it be” to the call, but many unanswered questions remained. What will Joseph think?  What will the neighbors think if they notice her looking a little queasy, or notice her figure begin to grow round in the typical way?  And how should Mary raise this child?  What did she need to do to help him get ready for his mission?  If her own calling was big, her child’s calling was awesome!

Mary didn’t go into seclusion, however.  She didn’t stay home alone with the questions.  Mary got ready as quickly as she could, and hurried on a journey of many miles from Galilee to Judea to visit Elizabeth.

How good it was to lay eyes on Elizabeth, someone who was kin to Mary physically.  But even more they were kin spiritually, kindred spirits.  Of all people, Elizabeth would understand what was happening to Mary.  Elizabeth understood this business of being called by God—both the blessings and the problems that come with God’s call.  What a blessing to be understood!  What a blessing to have some company.

How can people manage without spiritual kinfolk?  Another way to put that is how can people live without a family of faith? (more…)

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