Soon after Mary learned that she was going to give birth to the Messiah, she made a long trip to visit her relative Elizabeth.  Why did Mary make a journey so difficult, so tiring, so dangerous?   She needed a blessing.

Blessing is the first thing God does for us.  Before there was original sin, there was original blessing.  Blessing is one of the great themes of the Bible.  Jacob swindled his brother Esau out of the family blessing.  Jesus began his most famous speech by pronouncing blessings on his audience.  Blessing is what God does.

We need someone important to us to give us our blessing.  For some reason, we are unable to determine on our own whether we are  blessed or cursed.  We need someone to tell us.  Some people are so desperate for a blessing, usually from their mother or their father, that they will spend a lifetime trying to make up for what they are missing.  We all need to know that we are blessed.

One other dimension of blessing merits mention.  We need someone to bless our vocation.  You might have someone who loves you, who affirms you, who accepts you, who would do anything for you, but when you tell them what you believe what God wants you to do with you life, they are negative and try to discourage you.  You will need to find someone else, someone like Elizabeth, who can confirm your call and encourage you.

A last thought: when you know you are blessed, you are able to have a healthy relationship with God.  Elizabeth and Mary both addressed God as “Lord.”  It is difficult to submit to God as Lord of your life if you are not convinced that you are blessed.  Only if you are confident that God has blessed you will you be able to trust God enough to have a healthy relationship with him.

In our sermon this Sunday we will look at the Visitation.