O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
Mary visits Elizabeth
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.’
Don’t you feel relieved when you meet someone who understands what you are going through in life? So many of the things that happen to us are unique. They are not unique because they have never happened to anyone else, but because of the way they make us feel and the way they affect our view on life. So often we are irritated when we are seeking support from others and they respond with phrases like: I know exactly what you mean because I had the same experience! Our irritation may seem unreasonable, but is it really? Yes, someone else may have the same experience as us, but they do not share our feelings, our disappointments, our hurts and our hopes.
In today’s reading we hear of a meeting of the only two women who could possibly have an inkling as to what the other might be going through. Both Elizabeth and Mary are pregnant. Their pregnancies have come about through the intervention of God himself. That is, of course, where the similarities begin and end: Elizabeth is elderly, Mary is young; Elizabeth is married, Mary is not. So, whilst there is much they can share, that sharing is rooted in one undeniable fact that the two pregnancies have in common … they have been brought about by the will of God.
Both Elizabeth and Mary had accepted the situations in which they found themselves. They were travelling through their pregnancies in their own ways. Mary, the younger mother-to-be, journeyed to see her elderly relative and there the truth of all that had been foretold was confirmed. There were more truths to be revealed but, in their encounter, the baby that Mary is carrying is recognized and acknowledged as Elizabeth says: And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
Elizabeth and Mary were the only ones who could understand the journey each was undertaking, despite the obvious differences. Therein lies the challenge for us today. Everyone who professes a faith in Christ is on a unique journey through this world. We are each called to support one another, and to lead others into the faith. As we fulfil this common mission we are called to do so with a level of acceptance and love that has been modelled for us by Jesus himself. Let us pray that, even when we believe ourselves to be inadequate, we might step out in faith knowing that our sharing of the love and light of Christ is the first step on the journey of faith that is ours alone.
Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.
That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may bind up the broken hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord.
That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.
That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.
Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
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