Friday, December 11, 2009

She went with haste

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. Luke 1: 39-40 NRSV

Mary has accepted God's word. The angel has just departed from Mary. Yet, here we have a detail that is hard to follow after Mary's faithful response. Mary sets out and goes with haste to a Judean town in the hill country. Mary is from Nazareth. She leaves her hometown in a big hurry. Are her parents aware of her pregnancy or does God somehow orchestrate this visit? This must have been very unusual. The tradition at that time is that the fiance is waiting for the spouse-to-be to finish adding a room to his father's house. The wedding can happen at any time. Yet Mary takes off in a big hurry.

She goes to an unnamed town in the Judean hill country - which is at least 50 miles from Nazareth. This was the area around and near Jerusalem where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. I think if it had been someplace like Bethlehem there would have been some mention here.

Mary, like Elizabeth, is keeping her pregnancy a secret. But the stakes of being found pregnant are much more deadly for Mary than they ever were for Elizabeth. Mary could easily have been stoned to death according to Jewish law.

Perhaps both women thought of Moses' mother who hid her son from Pharaoh and his soldiers before leaving him in a basket on the Nile.

Is doing God's will mean keeping some things secret until they come to fruition?

God, what do I need to keep secret? In Jesus' name. Amen

Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims

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