Alone No More

Alone No More
Luke 1:39-58
Rev. Dexter Kearny
Longview Presbyterian Church
December 18, 2022

Dexter: 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.” 

And Mary said,

Kay: ‘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 for ever.’

Dexter: 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. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. 

I was in sixth grade and basketball camp had just ended. My friend asked if I needed a ride home. “Nope, my parents will be here soon.” As my friend drove off with their family, I did not know that I would regret those words very shortly. Through a series of very unfortunate miscommunications I was left at a high school gym on a Saturday afternoon with no one coming to pick me up. Minutes turned to hours. I did not know if I should trek to the closest business, a few blocks away, to try and make a phone call because I was sure I would miss the person picking me up. I sat there for hours pondering what must have gone wrong, who was hurt, and mostly why I was forgotten. After about the fifth hour, I decided to run to the mall to try and make a call. Being alone can be scary and unsettling. 

Two weeks ago, we heard the story of the angel visiting Mary and talked about fear. Mary was terrified by this intrusion into her house and into her life. Our passage today takes place immediately afterwards. Mary is afraid, she could be shunned and exiled, she could even be stoned. She had all the reason in the world to run. Our text says she went “with haste to a Judean town in the hill country” to meet her cousin Elizabeth. 

I want to pause here and ask a huge question that does not have an answer that I can find. Where in the world are Mary’s parents? Are they still alive? We have not heard anything about them anywhere in the Bible, not in either of the genealogies. Did they reject Mary after she was found to be pregnant? Did they not believe her that an angel told her that this was God’s child? Were they maybe nice and polite but actually more passive aggressive and judgmental? Whatever the reason may be, Mary in her greatest time of need and fear did not turn to her parents, her betrothed, or any friends. She ran to her older cousin, Elizabeth. 

Now as I picture myself in this story, I imagine that Mary must have been feeling so alone and isolated. She has just been visited by an angel, a thing that only happened in Bible stories! She has just been told she would bear the messiah who would free the Israelites from Roman occupation. All of these things isolate her and would cause a feeling of complete loneliness. Are there times in your life where you have felt completely alone? What did it feel like to think nobody would ever understand or know what you’re going through? Did you want to crawl up in a ball and hide in a corner? Then perhaps you have a sense of what Mary is feeling in our text this Sunday. 

But my follow up question is: did you have someone in that loneliness that you made haste to be with? Did you have someone see you and check in on you? Did you find a community of support to show that you are not alone? Then you also have a taste of the love that is shared between people who choose to be in relationship and community with one another. You have a taste of the love of God experienced in community on this Love Sunday. 

We are not meant to be alone. The church is meant to be a place where the lonely find community. We are called to be a people who seek out the lonely and lost to tell them they are not alone. The bonds we create together are what unite us and free us from the shackles of isolation and fear. On Love Sunday, we think about the connections we have as a church and the connections we are called to create. Mary was unable to turn to her immediate family and so turned to an older cousin for solidarity and support. The church is a place for us to find that familial connection outside of the bonds of blood. 

Who of you are lonely this time of year? I need you to hear that you are not alone. I am here for you. This church community is here for you. We see you and we want you here with us. Join us throughout this season and even Christmas Day to celebrate that God is with us and we are that community of Love that shares that truth.  

Who of you are feeling connected this time of year? Seek out those who are lonely and invite them to lunch or coffee. Go for a walk at the lake and look at the Christmas lights. Make sure that no one is alone this Christmas season. 

Friends, may we bear witness to the image of God in one another and let the people we see know that truth. May we go and share the Love of God this Sunday and this season. Let us make it so. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: