The “Second Week”: Week Eleven/Session Three.
Theme: The Contemplation on the Incarnation.
Our reading for today: Luke 1: 26-38.
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.
And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months’ pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God. (Luke 1: 35-36 MsgB)
When a person truly starts to embrace the entirety of the Bible as being one message from God, spoken to us through multiple authors and stories, you begin seeing re-occurring patterns of consistency in the way God works amongst His people.
As our ruling King, God-Almighty never performs His mighty works in a vacuum. As one scholar states, “God never paints with small strokes.” Thus we find re-occurring smaller stories scattered throughout the pages of the Bible, that when viewed through the lenses of God’s bigger story, will illuminate how God works in and through all of our lives.
One of these re-occurring themes found popping up throughout the scriptures is the amazing way God continually breaks into people’s lives, removing the curse of barrenness from couples without children.
In Genesis alone, we discover three key marriages; Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah), Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Rachel, all barren at one time or another throughout their lives. Then God steps in with His rescuing power and presence, breaking off barrenness, allowing each couple to give birth to the next generation of God’s people.
Later in the Old Testament, we find Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who has a powerful encounter with God which opens her barren womb, giving birth to the godly man who goes on to become Israel’s first true prophet/king, ushering in the age of King David.
Now, here we are at the beginning of the New Testament and God is at it again!
Long-standing barrenness is being broken. Elizabeth and Zachariah are just another set of godly people who need a miracle from God in order to perpetuate the life God first bestowed upon them.
So what’s the larger story here? What’s the pattern we see in God’s work as He moves in amongst His people, breaking in on this darkened world with His Holy Light?
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that anytime God is about to do something really large in our world, He begins with something really small. He breaks open barren wombs, blessing His people with the gift of new life.
So it is at Christmas, the incarnation of God’s logos.
Before we even get out of chapter one of his Gospel, Luke, the good doctor, reports to us about two new miracle pregnancies happening with two very unlikely candidates. Elizabeth and Mary. Who would have imagined God’s majestic work of salvation would begin in such remote and unusual ways!
“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. Isaiah 54: 1
My prayer: Thank You Lord, for the re-occurring pattern I see in Your Word. Thank You that You have a consistent track record of stepping powerfully into barren lives, breathing new life into Your people. Thank You that this principle of breaking barrenness is repeated again and again in all of our lives as You come as our ruling King, setting us free from lives that are empty and barren. Giving us new life, for Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what barrenness does God want to break off of my life today as He moves His mighty hand in our generation? How has barrenness held me back? What would it look like for God to step in and breathe new life over me and my household, just as He did consistently throughout His people’s lives in the past?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.
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