This Sunday, the 4th of Advent, we hear about Mary's visit to Elizabeth. You can learn about it here:
We read the upcoming Sunday's Gospel and pray on it every week, as a staff. This week I felt a twinge of recognition in this moment of recognition from Elizabeth, and I imagine, from Mary. This is the story of a tipping point- a moment in history that will change everything. It's a moment where a distinct line is drawn between "before" and "after." I imagine that Both Mary and Elizabeth, even if they can't imagine what their lives are to become, are feeling that uneasy/exciting feeling of knowing that after this exchange, everything will be different.
I can relate because as a parish we seem to be poised on that dividing line too. There's been some tension among us, which is unusual for us as a group. I think part of the tension is that we're on that line of knowing that things are about to change, and we don't know how or when, but we are seeing an old age end and anticipating the beginning of a new one. I know that whatever happens, I'll look back fondly at this "before" time and miss these days of relative certainty.
The pastoral plan that faces us is something that's not yet fully realized, has never been done before, and could change at any point. We can't know who the pastor will be here at our parish, and therefore, we can't know if we'll be employed here in the future.
I am a gal who likes a plan. I like to end a meeting with a "to do" list, action items, a framework on which to build whatever needs building. Whenever poor Scott shares his goals for me, I inevitably bleat out "but HOW?" I like to know what we're shooting for, and I like to have things to do that help move the plan along. At this point, though, I've got nothing. We can dimly see a possible future, but can't move toward it.
Well, in the meantime, we've got lots of stuff going on, and the parish is still a Spirit-filled, productive place, and I'm treasuring my time here. I have plenty to do, and I will just have to ignore the Great Unknown for now. Tonight our staff gathers for a Christmas celebration together, and it may be just what we need, a tiny break in the fever. But when I hear Mary and Elizabeth's story this Sunday, I'll nod to myself in recognition of the bring upon which these two faithful women stand.