There’s More Love

Who has gone into another room in your house and then forgotten what you planned to do? And you had to go back to where you were to remember what it was you planned to do in the first place. Did you know that there is a scientific reason for that?

These studies revealed that it’s not necessarily entering new rooms or doorways that cause a memory wipe, but rather an abrupt total change of scenery that forces our minds to process something entirely new. You can read more about that here.

Doorways are the in between place of one room and another, or the inside and the outside. Doorways are thresholds. They are the division between what was and what will be. They are a passageway. A place where you both enter something and leave behind something! Let’s listen to the story of Mary as she crosses the threshold and enters Elizabeth’s home. It’s found in the first chapter of Luke:

39 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. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped 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. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[e] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

This might have been very different. Remember, Mary is pregnant and not married. The first verse says Mary went with great haste! In the crossing of the threshold of Elizabeth and Zechariah’ s home, what did Mary forget or intentionally leave behind? Disappointed parents? Disapproving villagers. We don’t really know…our scriptures do not tell us. But what we do know is that Elizabeth greets her with hospitality and warmth.

That affirmation that Mary received as she crossed that threshold into Elizabeth’s house was profound and holy. It is written that her Elizabeth’s child leapt in her womb as Mary greeted her. A child born in her old age and who would grow up to be John the Baptist.

When have you received such profound hospitality? When have you extended such profound hospitality? In the welcome Mary received, she was inspired to sing her magnificent song. Let’s listen to it further on in the first chapter of Luke:

46 And Mary[f] said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.

    Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name;
50 indeed, his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty.

54 He has come to the aid of his child Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

This is a revolutionary song!

51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty.

This is no gentle Mary, meek and mild. This is a bold woman who was filled with the Holy Spirit and vibrated with passion and zeal! This is a woman who sang of the old order being overturned. Even as she lived in a world full of oppression and domination, she lived with courage and a sense of God with her. And that God would act! Mary remained with Elizabeth for 3 months… and returned home… we know the rest of the story.

Our story has been unfolding these past 3+ years. In some ways, this period of Interim Ministry is like a threshold. A crossing over space… a space between what was and what will be. You are entering a new period of ministry in a couple of months. A threshold of sorts. I hope you won’t leave behind all that we have learned. Or if you do, you will go back to that metaphorical room and remember what brought you to this place.

I know I will remember this time in ministry with you… starting with a hurricane… surviving, thriving and living with Covid! We have crossed many thresholds. We have seen God in each other. I hope, like Elizabeth and Mary, that you have been inspired, encouraged and enlivened. I know I have been. The greatest gift in this Interim Ministry has been the teamwork… the Transition Team and Executive have been pivotal in plotting your future. But you have all played a part. Any time I got discouraged, someone was there who saw things from a different angle, and I was reminded that my view was not the only view. And I hope that when others were discouraged, I was able to do the same for you.

Thanks be to God for the challenge and the opportunity of being the church today! Amen.

Catherine MacDonald © 2022

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