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Monday, December 21, 2020


Narthex window-St. John’s Rehab Hospital

Song of Songs 2:8-14    
Psalm 33:1-5, 20-22  
Luke 1:39-45

During this ‘new normal’ time, the readings for today may inspire ‘new normal’ meaning.  For example, both Old Testament readings emphasize singing — definitely ‘high risk’ behaviour during this pandemic, at least in the context of communal singing.  And although Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-45 is still surprisingly wondrous to a degree, we might well imagine Elizabeth asking, not just the expected ‘Why me?’, but ‘Why me NOW in the midst of a world-wide pandemic?’ ‘Could we not wait until next year?’  Minus a risk analysis, the ending of the Visitation passage may pose challenges.  Belief is seemingly a key ingredient: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”  Also, in Psalm 33, the psalmist stresses waiting in hope, trustingin God, and finally, “May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Are these sentiments enough for us right now?  In the face of catastrophe and folly, Mary Oliver in her poem, Don’t Hesitate, (2010) says,

Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world . . . .
very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins . . . .
don’t be afraid
of its plenty.

As our first pandemic Christmas nears, may we never hesitate to trust and enjoy the signs of God’s abundant love in our lives.   

Cate McBurney