Friday, December 18, 2015

Waiting for Love

Can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Advent 4 2015

Readings:
Psalm                          Magnificat
First Reading:                          Micah 5:2-5                                        
Second Reading:                     Hebrews 10:5-10                                
Gospel:                                    Luke 1:39-45                                                              

What I want to say:
I want to explore the human story held in Luke’s story, and how we might fund out own story in the midst of it.
What I want to happen:


The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

As I first heard today’s reading this week
I was reminded of waiting for our first child – Kate
wonder those who had children can remember what like waiting
J  wonder of it
J  fear and terror of it
o   what was going to happen?
o   what was this going to do to our lives?
o   would I be any good at this parent thing?
J  unreality of it all
J  so much unknown – especially that first one
J  so much anxiety around birth – even for male
J  what was it going to be like ?
few weeks before due asked take funeral for stillborn child.
while privilege accompany that family through that process
did nothing for my anxiety
cot deaths in news a lot
take nothing granted


     2.      Mary and Elizabeth

Think we need to hang on to all those experiences as we come to story we just hear,
so easy to romanticise this story
two very pregnant women sharing their joy
lots of pictures about that
rare story in any literature of this time
            story no males
            invited into hidden world of 2 women
so easy spiritualise these two women
lose sight humanity of them both
lose so much what story offers us

     3.      Elizabeth

wonder what like for Elizabeth in this story
            wonder who many miscarriages she endured
            how much loss she suffered
            how much shame
            and I wonder what like each day that this pregnancy unfolded
                        hope it held
                        incredible hope
                        the promise
                                    and yet
                        gnawing fear that it all go so badly wrong again
                                    more loss
                                                how much loss can one person hold
                                    more shame
how to live with so much fear and hope tied up in this one child
what is love for Elizabeth in this story?

      4.      Mary

often portrayed as heavily pregnant
Luke says she comes almost straight away
she encounters an archangel
             is told she is pregnant
            and then off to Elizabeth
how does Elizabeth know?
one commentator wondered if this was the first time Elizabeth had felt her baby move
            which is a little bit romanticising the whole thing
            beautiful image
that moment i can only imagine when you feel that life moving within
            maybe/probably for the first time
Mary come with her own fears
birth is not a straight forward thing
no pain killing drugs
no hospitals
no doctors
people die
            babies
            mothers
birth is a time of both new life and death
it is a sacred moment
            never be sure which way it will go
this baby means everything she has ever known will change
her life will forever change
no longer a girl
now a women
            a mother
            a wife
all at once
with all the responsibility of that
the loss held in that
leaving your home
your family
your mother
and going to live with his family
And yet so much is promised in this child
so much hope
not pious hope
hope new world order captured in her song
even that held in shadow of Rome

     5.      we sit with them

so we are invited to sit with them
in this sacred moment
filled with so much hope
so much anxiety and fear
so much grief
so much uncertainty
held in love
their love for their unborn infants
their love of God
their love of family and each other
most important
the love of God for them found in this moment

     6.      The Picture

It is a sacred moment when these two meet.
we too easily pass over it
            over all it offers us
which is why I used this picture for our reflection this week
It holds this sacred moment
and invites us into it
with all our hope
and anxiety and fear
our grief and uncertainty
and like Mary and Elizabeth
we too are invited into that same love
as we approach Christmas
how does this image
how does this story invite us into love?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mary and Elizabeth



It is very very easy to romanticise the story of Mary’s bold journey to Elizabeth. The internet is full of sweet pictures of two well pregnant women, both overjoyed at their situation. In doing so we are in danger of loosing the humanity of these two women. What really drove Mary to journey from home?

David Ewart writes, “before moving too quickly to the magnificence of Mary's Magnificat, it is perhaps wise to pause and sit within the intimacy of these two women's conversation. To consider ourselves not as distant outsiders, but as invited and welcomed extended family into a blessed conversation between these two women.”[1]

If we move too fast we are in danger of missing the invitation to join them in this private moment. A moment spent in anxious, expectant, fearfilled, excited waiting. What did they share, and what do they share with us in this moment?


https://robleveridge.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/mary-and-elizabeth.jpg
This last week of advent you are invited to spend some time with this picture: 
  • What anxieties do you bring into this moment? 
  • What joy is leaping within? 
  • What stirrings of new life? 
  • What impossible longings are become possible?



[1]
http://www.holytextures.com/2009/11/luke-1-39-45-46-55-year-c-advent-4-sermon.html