By Rev. Heather J. Blais & The People of SsJA
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
When was the last time we felt that kind of joy, hope, and faith?
Mary has every reason in the world to be so moved by our God. She is an unwed, pregnant teen; prepared to face incredible hardships. Yet her path changes when the child is claimed as God’s own. A child who will embody the greatness Mary describes of God. This is Good News.
She hurries off to tell her friend and cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth seems to have her own unexpected news. After years of grappling with the pain and cultural shame of infertility, Elizabeth is pregnant. This, too, is Good News.
In the years to come, Jesus will remind them whenever two or three disciples are gathered, that Christ will be in the midst of them.These two women come together to share their good news and to pray together. We know the Spirit was with them, as John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb.
Today, we are going to take a page out of Mary and Elizabeth’s book. We haven’t done this in over two years, so dear ones, we are overdue. That’s right, you guessed it, we are going to talk to each other.
Wherever you are, for the next five minutes, I want you to share and reflect:
When is a time when you have experienced Good News?
I wonder if 2 or 3 folks might be willing to say in a few words something they took out of their conversation of sharing their good news?
From in-person adults:
“One of the things that I got from my conversation was the growth of people, and how folks can better themselves over time.”
“We talked about babies being born, how joyful it is when babies are born, whether they are our children’s, someone else’s children, grandchildren. It’s such a delightful time, when that happens.”
“I would say a theme in both of our conversations was sharing the news with someone else.”
“Something I noticed is that joy is something that can be very simple, it doesn’t have to be a baby being born- it’s amazing. But also that we can find joy in something that is ordinary.”
From in-person kiddos:
“She’s feeling shy, but Lily drew a rainbow.”
-Reynolds & Lily Whalen
“Me and Eliza drew a Christmas tree.”
From virtual adults & kiddos:
“When my son was born and when my grandchildren were born.”
“Clark says Fitz makes him the happiest (the dog). My happiest moments are when our little family spends quiet time together.”
“I received Good News when I was approved for disability, and could know I'd be financially stable and able to better manage my illness.”
“When I was able to celebrate my birthday with my family at the home for the aged. We shared our food and a little program with the elders. That's my happiest moment. That became my birthday celebration every year. God bless all the people who joined us in the mission.”
-Jantel Theresa Young
“When my surgeon told me my cancer had not spread!”
I invite us to keep being in conservation with one another and taking chances to share the Good News in our lives, even the stuff that feels a little more vulnerable with one another. Amen.
*The idea for this kind of sermon dialogue arose from listening to Prophetic Voice Podcast
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