And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” The meaning of the original word used by Luke to describe Elizabeth’s exclamation loses some of its impact in the modern English translation. “A loud cry”, according to scholars, should be understood to be an exaggerated loud cry – as if Elizabeth was using a megaphone!
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
When it comes to engaging scripture in meaningful ways, there’s no shortage of advisors ready to help. This can be both comforting and confounding. A fair number of voices suggest that, when reading a text, one might always look for promises. Others invite us to read the bible like a love letter. And more to the point today…
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Mark’s gospel is not strictly an historical or biographical account. Instead, Mark’s purpose is to provide a theological record of Jesus as the Christ who is the mighty worker of miracles rather than the great teacher. And yet in this chapter – chapter 12 – Mark offers challenge and opportunity as we met Jesus the teacher – Jesus, who…
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
This account of the healing of Bartimaeus concludes a central section in Mark’s gospel that began in chapter 8 with the healing of a nameless blind man in Bethsaida. When these literary bookends appear in scripture, they can act as an invitation, of sorts, to deeper study; for example, how blindness may be a unifying theme.
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Deirdre Good is presently Theologian in Residence at Trinity Wall Street. She was Professor of New Testament at General Seminary for 28 years. She grew up in Kenya and has written books on Matthew’s portrait of Jesus (Jesus the Meek King 1999), on Mary traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Mariam, the Magdalen and the Mother 2005), on households and families at the time of Jesus (Jesus’ Family Values 2006) and with Bruce Chilton (Reading the New Testament: A Fortress Introduction 2010).
When I was a little boy my family lost a pet. He was a small terrier-mix named Porgy. My parents had adopted Porgy and his adopted sister Bess one Christmas, and my six siblings and I were very excited. Bess, however, was a shepherd mix – bigger and more rambunctious – and when she came close to knocking down my grandmother who lived next door and visited pretty much daily, we sadly had to place her elsewhere, which was done with great solemnity.