December 18: O Adonai! O Lord!
- O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
- who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
- and gave him the law on Sinai:
- Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John." 61 They said to her, "None of your relatives has this name." 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, "What then will this child become?"
|"The Visitation" by Jacques Daret (1404-1470)|
You can click here for Lectio Divina instructions, and then return for the meditation and prayer.
This is such a biblical moment.
If that sounds like an odd way to single out a passage of the bible, consider this: the trope of the so-called "barren woman" having a child is used throughout scripture to show us both the power of God and the extraordinary nature of the child (always a male, sometimes two!).
And if Advent is leading us inexorably to our celebration of the incarnation-- God coming into the world as a human baby-- we certainly are being prepared appropriately for a story showing God's power and the extraordinary nature of that baby.
I really wish there were some biblical adoptions stories, though.
Well, there are. Abraham, when a baby is not forthcoming for him and Sarah, decides to adopt Eliezer of Damascus. (I'm betting that's a name you've never heard until this moment, or, maybe one you'd read but forgotten...) There's nothing wrong with Eliezer of Damascus, mind you. It's just... it's clearly not what God intends for Abraham and Sarah, which we learn because of how the story unfolds.
I guess what I want to say, is, I wish there were some great biblical adoption stories. Stories about individuals whose worth, whose value, whose importance is not inseparable from their genetics. AND, stories in which the worth of women is not predicated on their giving birth to children (always, always, male children).
But this is what the ancient texts give us: a blissfully happy couple who, without the advantages offered by 21st century medical technology, manage to have a baby through the intervention of God.
God is powerful. The baby, John, will be extraordinary.
I just wish, once in a while, a "biblical" moment would not be at the cost of every woman who was not in a position to raise a baby to whom she'd given birth, nor of every child who was blessed to be raised by terrific adoptive parents.
"The Lord of the Dance" by the Dubliners
Great God of Might: Our lives are in your hands, and we trust you to bring to birth in those things that give us life. Give us your life, dear Lord! We pray in your holy name. Amen.