Feast of the Visitation (Transferred)
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 72 (morning) //146, 147 (evening)
1 Samuel 1:1-10
Today we celebrate the feast of the Visitation, which is one of several feasts associated with the anticipation and birth of Jesus. The Visitation marks the encounter between two pregnant relatives–Mary (expecting Jesus) and Elizabeth (expecting John the Baptist). Luke’s gospel tells us that, in response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary sang a song known to us as the Magnificat. This song proclaimed the hope that, through Jesus, God would fill the hungry and lift up the lowly.
But the Magnificat is just one of many Biblical songs and poems used to express people’s hopes for God’s gently present but fiercely just rule. Another one of those texts is this morning’s Psalm. With these words, we cry out for God’s justice to be given to human rulers, and for a just leader to “come down like rain upon the mown field, like showers that water the earth.”
Lately, every day seems to bring news of another entrant into the 2016 presidential primary, so I have a suggestion for today. Let’s fill our ears and hearts with the words of this morning’s Psalm, and either tune out other campaign speeches or compare them with the hopes of God’s people for justice.
Selecting just a small series of verses from Psalm 72, we hope for someone who “shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, and the oppressed who has no helper.” This person has the ear of those who cry out, and this person responds when no one else can help. This leader’s compassionate heart is with the poor who do are not able to sustain their lives, for this leader “shall have pity on the lowly and poor” and “shall preserve the lives of the needy.”
And further, this leader knows how often poverty entails subjection to violence. The leader who holds God’s justice “shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.” The blood shed through oppression and violence matters deeply to the ruler on whom God’s justice falls like rain.
Today, let us pray for God’s justice to pour on those who hold or seek power, as we remember that the standard of Godly justice is defense of the poor.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.