Tastes Don’t Matter (Ultimately)
In Luke chapter 1 verses 39 to 56, Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the John people will come to call The Baptist.
It’s a remarkable scene for lots of reasons. Here’s one: There’s no men. Ponder that.
Mary is considered rather young. Elizabeth is considered very old. They are from two different generations. But, they are united by a shared reality: God is doing something remarkable in their lives connected to Jesus Christ.
Mary and Elizabeth gather to celebrate this God and to support one another in the midst of their journeys.
As someone who’s worked in the organized church for my whole adult life, this offers me an interesting – and often overlooked – possibility for how we might organize what we call church.
In my experience, we often want to organize church life around personal tastes (drums! organ!), feelings (impress us! challenge us! comfort us!), or eras (the supposed glories of 1950s! the perceived need to be relevant in the 21st century!).
Although Mary and Elizabeth’s connection surely involves these sorts of things, it is not fundamentally about these things. In other words, their church together involves songs and feelings and (surely) different tastes shaped by different eras, but that isn’t what jumps out at the reader.
What jumps out is that Mary and Elizabeth sense God is doing something in their lives, and they want to support one another through what God is doing with them. The songs, the feelings, and everything else act to support this shocking, shared reality, this Good News.
I see this focus continuing as Jesus gathers disciples around him through the Book of Luke and as the early church spreads in the Book of Acts.
Did it continue to us or did we settle for something less?