Today we celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the story where Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. I have always loved this story in Scripture. There is something so intimate, sacred, and profound about this moment. In the womb, babies are declaring the messiahship of Jesus; Elizabeth utters words that will be recited over and over again in the “Hail Mary”; Mary sings a song that will be sung in thousands of ways by thousands of churches over thousands of years. But all of this happens in the most unlikely place – between two women, who we know had little power; by one woman who is pregnant and unwed; and by another who is too old to be having children. In these unlikely characters, who have little to no power in their world, something revolutionary is taking place – something society would deem only worthy of kings and the powerful.
I have often wondered how much we miss about God because we look in the wrong places. When we are seeking truth and intimacy with God, we are more likely to consult scholars or religious leaders. We are so accustomed to experiencing God in particular ways and places that we can miss God speaking to us, or the Holy Spirit circling around us. We are quick to label a kicking child in the womb as just a kicking child – not the Spirit speaking truth.
To encourage us to live in ways that access God in unexpected ways, we get Paul’s words to the Romans: outdo one another in showing honor, serve the Lord, contribute to the needs of the saints, extend hospitality to strangers, bless those who persecute you, associate with the lowly. Paul knows that we experience God most in encounters with others, especially those not valued by society or even us.
Knowing what we know about how God works – revealing truth in unexpected ways and through unexpected persons – our invitation today is to be a people actively seeking God in those places. We will have to risk scary encounters, we will have to step out of comfort zones, and we will have to always be attentive. Because when we do, the promise of God’s revelation is an awesome ride. Amen.