Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth – As we journey further, we draw closer (The Gospel Passage)

The lectionary readings for this week include not only scripture readings for Trinity Sunday, but readings that have as their focus Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. In terms of triune aspect of God, this visitation comes in advance of the coming of Jesus (obviously) and far in advance of the coming of the Spirit. I have chosen just one passage from the four possible ones. The others are I Samuel 2:1-10 (the passage where Hannah rejoices in her son’s birth), Psalms 113 (a psalm of rejoice that includes rejoicing that a woman formerly barren gives birth) and Romans 8: 9-16b (instructions from the writer of Romans on living a good Christian life). So you can see that the Luke passage is the one that is right on point.

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 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. 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 leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 8:39-45)

Even here, beloved reader, the Holy Spirit is a concept already spoken of; because the writer of Luke is writing after Jesus’ ministry and return to heaven, and after the coming of the Holy Spirit. So it is to that aspect of God that the writer of Luke ascribes Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary’s visit.

And Mary said,
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

I have said on other occasions there is some doubt that Mary actually had said this. And the NRSV notes that other “ancient authorities” say that is was Elizabeth who said this. In either case, or if it was the writer of Luke who inserted this into the account, it seems clear its inspiration and inclusion comes from the Spirit. And it is the Spirit who has inspired the praise for God, giving further evidence of a triune belief of God. And least according to THIS writer.

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.” (Luke 1:56-57)

If you follow this chronology, Mary was with Elizabeth for the first three months of her pregnancy – perhaps learning from Elizabeth what to expect and how to care for a newborn infant, that be Jesus who was and would become again part of the triune God. And it was the herald for Jesus, John the Baptist who leapt in his mother’s womb.

This is part of the nature of the Revised Common Lectionary. As you think you are journeying farther from the central story of Jesus, you find that you are actually drawing closer. It is this exact inclusive nature that gives, for me, credence to a triune belief in and of God. So endth my input on the Trinity. Selah! Shalom!

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About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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