Sermon Notes - May 30, 2019
Sermon Notes - June 15, 2019

Feast Day June 2nd 2019

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,’

Today we celebrate The Feast of The Visitation of Blessed Mary to Blessed Elizabeth. It is the Feast Day of our church and provides us with an opportunity to pause and reflect. How often have stopped to consider what may be the reasons why we carry the names we have? How many of us would fondly remember the first time your parents shared why they gave you your name? How much time and energy have we invested in living out the call of our names. Every so often our children would stop and ask each other the meanings of their names. It normally would lead to some teasing and laughter but the essence of it is the understanding that they from very birth have significance and purpose in the world.

Thus, when Fr Brown and the vestry decided to name this church St Elizabeth’s as much as I understand it, was for a twofold purpose. It was in recognition of the City in which God has placed the church for His work and also the understanding that God can do the seemingly impossible. The choice of two pregnant women symbolizes the tremendous possibilities of new birth as well as the tremendous barriers that the women had to overcome indicating that nothing is impossible with God. Wrapping them in Kinte cloth was nothing short of brilliant and inspirational! Just about thirty years ago this spiritual entity was birthed here at the corner of N. Broad and Chestnut streets. The grandchild of St Augustine was named St Elizabeth and how she has lived into her name is the question being asked of us today.

In the story of the Feast of the visitation When Blessed Mary visits Blessed Elizabeth there is much music and joy in the air. In the midst of the seeming tragedy of a pregnant unwed young Jewish maiden combined with an elderly upstanding wife of an esteemed Jewish Temple priest also declaring her pregnancy, there is music in the air. Elizabeth courageously welcomes her young cousin into her home allowing her space for contemplation and strength to face the next thirty years of tumultuous living. There is music through songs of joy, thanksgiving, and consolation, yet there are also songs of the coming revolution. Elizabeth samples music of the psalms Mary singing a cover of the Song of Hannah (1 Sam.2:1-10)

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord, my horn[a] is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
2 “There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.”

Mary’s Version Luke 1
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name

All our work and ministry in life find meaning and purpose enveloped in the song of praise. It is about giving glory and praise to God. If we find ourselves working just for gaining wealth, we may become rich in goods but poor in Spirit. The world is dominated today by rich, arrogant fools who believe it is their lust for money that would distinguish them in life. They do so at the cost of others as we witness the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Many of our systems are collapsing under the weight of the widening of the chasm between the have and the have-nots. Even those who are enacting abortions laws in the name of whatever God they believe in would be more satisfied to see children born to live in perpetual debt, poverty, orphanages, foster care, and prisons than allow women to say I am not yet ready because I need a stronger platform. Pay careful attention to where abortion laws are being passed if you think it is for the good of the child then tell me why are they also working so hard to repeal Obamacare that would allow poor folks to have greater access to healthcare?

Mary ran from these men otherwise Jesus would have died with her as she would have been stoned to death. You see at the heart of the message of the visitation is that Mary came to Elizabeth in a mess, but God used Elizabeth to transform a mess into a message. And that remains our call today. How do we welcome folks coming with a mess and provide them with a message of hope, healing, and love? Each of us arrived at this place at different points in our lives yet carrying our own mess and the longer we worship, prayed, and gave God the space our mess became a message. That remains our call, our gift, our challenge and our song!

The work of Elizabeth then remains the same today. To be a place of refuge for all those who are seeking God’s protection, solace, and care. Elizabeth provided a space of God’s Holy spirit to nurture Mary for the lifelong ministry of salvation. We are all invited to share in this valuable and important work and ministry. That’s why God has bought us here at this moment in our lives. Our lives would attain their fullest meaning and purpose when we join with Mary and Elizabeth in the midst of all that we struggle through and declare to God and to the world. In the midst of whatever mess we may carry we boldly sing

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,’