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The Visitation

ghirlandaio_visitation_j2God zooms his camera in on greeting scenes and parting scenes. This is one of the most famous

greeting scenes in Scripture. Both this painting by Ghirlandaio and Luci Shaw’s poem are entitled Visitation. I’ve memorized Luci’s

poem and think of it often. Eager for your reflections!

VISITATION

Framed in light

Mary sings through the doorway

Elizabeth’s six month joy jumps

A palpable greeting, a hidden first encounter

Between son and Son

And my heart turns over

when I meet Jesus in you.

Read Luke 1:39-45

1. What does Elizabeth say to Mary in verse 43? What attitude does she have toward Mary?

2. How is this depicted in the painting? Other comments on the painting?

3. What do you think Elizabeth wasn’t jealous?

4. Read verse 44 and comment on Luci Shaw’s poem.

5. How does she affirm Mary?

6. How good are you at affirming friends for their faith or character? What might you do today?

7. Share a time when you met another person and recognized Jesus in them before you knew for sure they were a believer. What happened?

8. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

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48 comments

    1. Okay, Blessings on your trip to Oshkosh!

  1. I HAVE to share. I put this on my F.B. status, Joyce you have probably read it. 🙂

    This morning God’s fingerprints were all over an encounter I had with another woman while I was at the boys’ school doing copy work for the teachers. This is a public school. God was moving and I know He wanted me to share this with you all this morning.

    Anyway, I was in the room alone thinking..”O.K. I want to get out of here fast so I can get home and get my home in order.” Then out of the blue in walks this bubbly, outgoing woman who was warm and friendly and had a HUGE smile on her face. I was in my melancholy status and well-you know…not wanting much conversation- In my own thoughts, so it took me by surprise.

    She put her bucket of work down and immediately introduced herself..We talked and I wondered if she knew Jesus..I waited on the Lord.. I admit I was lacking faith because I put out a hook to another woman at the school whom I thought might know the Lord and she didn’t respond so I was a bit discouraged, so this time I waited for God to show me.

    We got back to the copy room and started chatting. I found out she had a boy with Autism and we talked-then she said, “I don’t know what you think or where you are but I have to be honest, God blessed us with this boy and He gave us strength…” Then I stopped her and the rest is history.. Out flowed a conversation straight from the hand of God. We spent the next two hours sharing testimonies of His moving in our lives. She shared how God brought them to Kansas City.. It is an amazing story by the way.. I shared how God moved in my Autistic sons heart to give Him understanding of the Gospel-we shared some scripture and shared our hearts.. She was encouraged as was I, but it wasn’t that we were encouraged merely with each other but how God moved this morning and brought us together rejoicing in Him in this copy room.

    OH.. And to top it all off, SHE GOES TO THE NEW CHURCH WE ARE ATTENDING!! 🙂 I really loved her boldness in her faith.

    1. Praise God!! I just now got on facebook to read it. Doesn’t God work miracles! I know he put you two together!

      1. Joyce, Amen! I don’t know if his plan was just for this morning that we could rejoice in Him or if it will continue. Either way, I am content in rejoicing in the Lord with another sister I didn’t even know. God kissed us both this morning with His sweet presence..God is good!

    2. Rebecca, that is wonderful! How God lifted your spirits! Are your sons near the same age as her son?

      1. Anne, yes he is inbetween two of my boys so he will fit right in. I am hoping she can come to our Autism support group meetings. We will see and I will keep you all posted! 🙂

  2. 1. Elizabeth say’s to Mary ” Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
    2. Elizabeth is bowed down to Mary in reverence and respect to honor her and her baby. Other things I notice in the painting is that Elizabeth’s head is all covered (to show respect?) and her hand is touching Mary’s side as if to touch Christ. Also, the lady in the back, in pink looks as if she may be with child also? The other lady is folding her hands as if in prayer.
    3. I don’t think Elizabeth was jealous as she finally was going to have her own baby after so many years. I think she was just in awe over this miracle baby, Mary carried.
    4. Elizabeth’s baby leaped for joy when the voice of Mary’s greeting came to her ears. The poem seems to be framed in God’s ray of light and Mary must of been singing as she came through the doorway…when Elizabeth’s baby leaped for joy. The hidden first encounter was the two babies, Jesus and John the baptist (son and son), in the wombs meeting for the first time.
    5. Elizabeth affirms Mary by (verse 45) saying she is “blessed by believing that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord”. Elizabeth believed the miracle of Jesus to be born from the virgin Mary and was blessed by believing.
    6.I hope I would be good at affirming friends for their faith or character just as Rebecca done today meeting a new friend and sensing her love of Christ and affirming her in love.
    I can’t do much today as it’s so late (It’s my quite time) or yet maybe I can because the day has started already! But I can pray that I would be affirming to anyone the Lord would put in my way. I would hope that I come across as a christian and I think I am pretty good at picking out believers.
    I look for the fruits of the spirit in people.
    7. I scensed that my friend Mary from AL was a christian lady back in 1974, when I went up to her and introduced myself to her. She looked lonely and sad and as soon as I talked to her for alittle while I knew she probly loved the Lord because she never cussed or gossiped or complained about everything there, like most people did. She was delighted to have someone talk to her as she was older and most of us were younger in the factory. And the more we talked the more evident it was that she was a christian because she would say things like “The Lord took my husband to heaven” and “she was blessed with three kids and six grandchildren”. You just know when you meet people that love the Lord…it usually just radiates from them. People that don’t walk a christian life is even more noticable, when they are cussing and argueing and gossiping and honking and giving you certain gestures and screaming at you (like my friend Connie did) to get out!
    8. My take away this week has been learning how to be a good christian mother, wife and friend. What better examples do we have as women than Elizabeth and Mary? They were God’s choice to be the mother’s of two blessed babies, so they should be our shining examples of what a mother, wife and friend should be!

    1. Joyce, I loved your observations on #2, and your story..It is true we will know them by their fruits.

  3. Read Luke 1:39-45

    1. What does Elizabeth say to Mary in verse 43? What attitude does she have toward Mary?

    * Elizabeth exclaims in her presence- why is she so favored that the mother of the Lord is coming to her.

    *Elizabeth is full of reverance and honor toward her. She holds her up in high esteem because she has been chosen to be the mother of the Son of God.

    2. How is this depicted in the painting? Other comments on the painting?

    * Elizabeth is kneeling before her with her hand on her womb..

    * She isn’t looking at Mary but looking to the side with her hand on her womb. I think she is reverent of Mary but I think she is kneeling not because of Mary but is kneeling before Jesus..

    3. Why do you think Elizabeth wasn’t jealous?

    * Because Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and was in the reverance, in awe of, and in a rejoicing state with the Holy Spirit, kneeling at the feet of Jesus in Mary’s womb.. She wasn’t thinking of herself at all.

    4. Read verse 44 and comment on Luci Shaw’s poem.

    * Oh my!!! I LOVE this poem.. I think that just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting John leaped for joy in the presence of Jesus inside the womb, so should our hearts leap for joy in the greeting and presence of another believer. It is the same dynamic..Do our hearts leap over for Joy when we greet another believer? It’s beautiful..

    5. How does she affirm Mary?

    * Elizabeth affirms Mary by telling her she is blessed for believing what God said to her will be accomplished. She encouraged Mary’s for her strong faith.

    6. How good are you at affirming friends for their faith or character? What might you do today?

    * Wow, that is so convicting..I know I have done it in the past, but I don’t keep account of it..I do it at home with my boys quite often…This is a great encouragement to me to remember to do that.

    7. Share a time when you met another person and recognized Jesus in them before you knew for sure they were a believer. What happened?

    * refer to my testimony about Sondra on the last study. 🙂 I saw Jesus in her right away before I said hi to her..Her eyes were the window to her soul and they lit up; Her countenance revealed she was in the presence of Jesus.

    8. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

    * I have taken a lot away this week.. Still rejoicing over last study a few days ago and what God is showing me. It is like He started working on my heart a few years ago and was freeing me from some bondage and has opened up the door to experience Him more fully than I have in a long time. I am looking for His fingerprints everywhere, His words from others..Being discerning but not blind to Him speaking to me. He is helping me to listen closer for His still small voice.

    1. I loved this answer, too, but didn’t reply at the time. God kept reminding me of this as I was with my mom as she had difficulty communicating and became unresponsive. I knew that because both of us had the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we still were able to communicate in the most important way.

    1. Our prayers are with you and all your family this week-end as you celebrate Steve’s life. May there is much joy in your sorrow.

    2. Dee, I am thankful that you are able to remember Steve this weekend with your daughters and grand daughters. What a blessing beyond measure!

  4. 1. What does Elizabeth say to Mary in verse 43? She acknowledges that she knows that Mary is the mother of the Messiah. This has to be prophecy or how could she have known? An angel did not speak to Elizabeth as far as we know. What attitude does she have toward Mary? She has an attitude of humility toward Mary. She feels honored by her visit.
    2. How is this depicted in the painting? Elizabeth is kneeling before Mary. She is not looking at her and I don’t know if there is any significance to that. Other comments on the painting? Both women have halos which I think signify the presence of the Holy Spirit. There seems to be faint halos above the heads of the figures looking on also. Elizabeth and the woman that is also pregnant are looking at something to the left of the picture. The figure on the right appears to be a man. He is looking on the scene and has an attitude of awe.
    3. Why do you think Elizabeth wasn’t jealous? Just as perfect love casts out fear, I think it also casts out jealousy. The presence of the Holy Spirit is well depicted here and I simply do not think there were such petty emotions. As light causes darkness to flee, so the Spirit would cast out such emotions. I also had the thought that she may have had a sense of the pain Mary would endure.
    4. Read verse 44 and comment on Luci Shaw’s poem. It is a beautiful poem. Not only does it celebrate this very special meeting, it helps us to see that we can enjoy such meetings with each other. This was the recognition of Jesus in another and we can see Him in others also if we have the eyes to see.
    5. How does she affirm Mary? Elizabeth affirms Mary by believing her and celebrating what God is doing through her.
    6. How good are you at affirming friends for their faith or character? What might you do today? This question slays me. I am not good at all at this. Maybe I am just not that good at recognizing the Holy Spirit in others. Maybe I have a critical spirit…I would love prayers about that because I am at a loss for steps to take other than repentance. I will have to start looking for ways that the Holy Spirit is present in others and commenting to them about it.
    7. Share a time when you met another person and recognized Jesus in them before you knew for sure they were a believer. What happened? I think it is awesome that Rebecca shared her experience just before we started these questions. Sometimes I don’t share because it does not seem relevant, but it is and God uses it.
    I work with a young woman from China. We ride in from the parking lot together a lot and I thought she was a Christian but I have difficulty understanding her and I think she has the same problem. One day we were talking about something that had almost happened at work that would have been bad. I said that God was watching over us. She came to me later in the day and said ‘now I know what you said’ and she was very happy. Even before that she would ask me about things and what I thought she should do in different situations, as if she sensed I might know. The first time was when she was talking about her 3 y/o daughter and did I think she should work less. I said ‘by all means, if you can afford it’. She got tears in her eyes and before I knew it she was working 3 10hr shifts instead of 4 per week. Even though I often have trouble understanding her I enjoy her very much. She has since shared with me how she came to the Lord. It was here when she lived in Nashville and her whole family in China is unsaved, but her husband was saved shortly after she was.
    8. What is your take-a-way this week and why? My take away is that I must find ways to affirm the ones I love, my husband and sons.

    1. Anne, I will pray for you for #6! I can attest to the power of prayer of you all during these studies in regard to areas where I have been ‘slain’.. I LOVED how you worded that..”This question slays me.”

  5. Love your sharing, Anne

  6. Ladies.. The Lord put on my heart to affirm my boys this morning.. Here was Andrew, my 8 year old’s response: “Mom, I can’t help it, I am focusing on your yellow teeth.. I didn’t hear a word you said.” -haha! Just thought I would throw that in for some humor this morning. ;P

  7. lol. I’m living it!

  8. I have been traveling to visit my sister and then visiting but I wanted to share how your prayers were answered. Today has been a wonderful day and I affirmed my husband and older son before 10 am! Thanks so much for your prayers!

    1. Anne, Praise God!!! Still praying!

    1. Dee, Praise God! 🙂

    2. wonderful!

  9. Prayer request. My mom died today. I already miss her but am so thankful for her, for her legacy, and that she is whole and happy. But we’re hurting & would appreciate your prayers. So thankful to have been part of “The God of All Comfort” study.

    1. Oh Renee, I am so sorry.. I will certainly be praying for you..

    2. Renee I will be praying for you too.

      1. Tammy, HEY sister, I sure do miss you on here!! ♥

    3. I am so sorry Renee, will be praying for you also!

    4. Oh Renee, I feel so bad. I’m so very sorry about your mom. I lost my mom last year. I was in shock for awhile, which I’m sure you are also. Please know I’m praying for you and your family.

    5. Renee, I am so sorry for your loss. I will also pray for you and your family.

    6. Renee, How are you doing? What can we pray for you today sis?

      1. I got home last night. Now the importance of a good night’s sleep is clear. I hadn’t slept in a real bed (except in the bed with mom during her last 24 hours, trying to comfort but not squish/hurt her!). I slept well last night, and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble sleeping. But please pray that I’ll take time to rest and have the wisdom to know what work essential these next few days (and what can be delayed or ignored) before I go up again for the visitation and funeral.

        I was privileged to spend a lot of time with her during the last decade (she lived with me for 8 years before moving into AL for two years). I’m already experiencing a void; my life seemed to primarily consist of being a caregiver and work. Please pray that I’ll be able to go back to a more balanced life (because work has become very time-consuming, too — and I don’t want to work all the time). Also, I already see I have the tendency to grieve/fill the void by beating myself up, regretting that I didn’t do more — not too helpful!

        Thanks so much for asking, Rebecca. What I need most right now is rest (both physically and resting in the Lord), healthy grieving, strength to get through this next week, and wisdom to know what work needs to be addressed now (even by contacting other people to take on responsibility. i.e., I can work by delegating, but that takes a little thought too).

        Thanks for your prayers 🙂

        1. Renee,

          You got it..

          Lord, I want to praise you Lord for your mercy, your grace and your deep, deep love and care for Renee..Thank you Lord that you have made her to bring you glory Lord as I see your joy reflected in her even as she goes through this sad, grieving time. Comfort her Lord and at the same time give her direction as she goes through this season of grieving. Help her to find rest in you today and bathe her with your love. Give her wisdom in balancing her time and help her to not get overwhelmed.. Give her your peace that surpasses all understanding. Today Lord, I just ask that you reveal yourself to Renee in the extraordinary way that you love. In Jesus precious name..

        2. Thank you, rebecca, for that beautiful prayer. I am praying every day for you also, Renee. caretaking is the hardest job there is and you always put yourself last. You were so good to your mom. I pray you can get the sleep and rest you need to get you though the next several days, weeks and months, minute by minute. May God bless you and all your family through this difficult time.

  10. Renee,
    My heart goes out to you over the loss of your mom. Like Dee said, moms are irreplaceable! We share a special bond with our moms like no other. I will be praying for you, too. Sending you a hug through this post!

  11. 1. What does Elizabeth say to Mary in verse 43?

    “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

    What attitude does she have toward Mary?

    I think Elizabeth is just awestruck that Mary has come and she is being honored to be in the presence of her (unborn as yet) Lord! Mary is so much younger than her, yet Elizabeth addresses her with great honor and respect.

    2. How is this depicted in the painting?

    Elizabeth appears overcome with emotion – on her knees before Mary and Jesus, her hand resting over Mary’s womb. I don’t know the significance of the pregnant woman in the background, but the artist seemed to make it very obvious that she is also with child.

    3. Why do you think Elizabeth was not jealous?

    What an awful attitude that would have been if Elizabeth had thought, “How come she gets to be the mother of the Lord and not me?”

    But, Elizabeth I believe was well-content with being blessed in her old age after a lifetime of barrenness to have conceived a child, and was also filled with the Holy Spirit, so she was walking in the Spirit, and not the flesh, so I don’t believe she would have been jealous. We had learned earlier in Luke that she and her husband walked blamelessly before the Lord, so I don’t think she had let her barrenness turn her into a mean, bitter old woman.

  12. 4. Read verse 44 and comment on the poem.

    Yes, that should be our/my attitude with other believers; and what about when I make time to meet with my Lord? Does my heart turn over in anticipation of time with Him, or am I too busy and distracted? Has my quiet time become a “chore” or a “to-do today” sort of thing?

  13. 5. How does she affirm Mary?

    She affirms Mary by telling her she is blessed because what she has believed, the message of the angel, will be fulfilled. It must have put aside any last doubts of Mary that maybe she had imagined the whole thing.

    6. I can echo Anne’s sentiments on this one. I am much more often on the receiving end of others affirming me and encouraging me and it is harder for me to take the role of the mature, secure in my faith Christian so that I can be the one to build up someone else.
    I think the key here is to be less self-absorbed and take my eyes off of myself and think first of others, to be a better listener, and many times, just to stop having a pity-party for myself.

  14. Susan,

    Love this: “and what about when I make time to meet with my Lord? Does my heart turn over in anticipation of time with Him, or am I too busy and distracted?”-

  15. Lord, thank You so much for the time Renee has had with her mother in the last years of her life. May she often be reminded of precious times they had together now and for years to come. Help her to remember her mother well.

    I pray that You would provide her with much help. I know there are many people who want to help and I pray that You would show them what would be most helpful to Renee.

    Help her to rest, especially at night and provide a healthy balance of contemplation and activity.

    For the services that will be held I ask your blessing. May her services celebrate her life wonderfully and allow loved ones to grieve effectively. May Renee know the reality of Your loving embrace in the days to come.

    Lord, we know that You understand her grief very well and that You feel everything Renee and her family are feeling right now. Thank You for entering into our suffering. Amen

    1. Thank you 🙂

  16. Thank you, everyone, for your prayers. I can tell that people are praying.