When Mary stepped into the house a strong wind came with her
lifting the red ribbons that Elizabeth had hung near the door
to catch the breeze and delight the eye.
They hung about her head like dancing flames, like a crown of fire,
and, as she stepped into Elizabeth’s arms, the wind also caught up
her star spangled wrap and draped it around Elizabeth’s belly like a caress.
Their bulging bellies brushed as Elizabeth drew her close,
strong hands clasped her shoulders.
And Mary holds Elizabeth like a ship tying up at her dock,
Glad to have reached a safe port,
meeting Elizabeth’s broad grin
with her own deeply pondered joy.
Eyes deep as night gleaming with hopeful stars,
That gazed up into heaven’s depths every night of her journey
Wondering, pondering, would she really be the first
to behold the face of God?
She, who heard the word of the messenger
and believed that he was coming into the world.
Her greeting is a blessing. And at her word she feels
the leaping baby push against her own barely-felt roundness,
against the butterfly flutter that she can only just sense.
The two boys, cousins, so close,
the forerunner sprinting ahead
and the lamb following behind.
This is the place of delight and rest,
in the golden light of a summer afternoon
when joy came to dwell in that most blessed house.
My friend Kate shared this image with me a few weeks ago and as we discussed it I found this poem growing in response. Tonight I remembered my poem, which has a very Pentecostal theme, and I decided to post it. I hadn’t paid much attention to where the image came from, all I remembered was that it was a Visitation monastery. (Thus the lovely quote in the image from St Jane de Chantal.) When I went to find the link for attribution… well. It seems eerily appropriate right now that this image comes from the Visitation Monastery in Minneapolis.
Tonight I pray for that city, pray that the joy that this image conveys will come once more to rest there in that broken, burning, pain-filled city. I pray that the Spirit will breathe new life, new hope, healing and peace on the people of that city where I’ve never visited but where I have many dear friends.
Lord, by the light of your Spirit, enlighten the world and dispel the darkness of our times. Turn hatred into love, sorrow into joy, and war into the peace we so desire. Send forth your Spirit and make the whole world new.