“And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day this comes to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” (Luke 1:20) The incredulous reaction of Zechariah to Gabriel’s words concerning John the Baptist is in sharp contrast with that of Mary, and somewhat with Joseph.
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and was unwilling to disgrace her publicly, he resolved to divorce her quietly…But after he had pondered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him…” (Matthew 1:19-24)
Here are two extremely blessed men with varying degrees of skepticism which turns into belief at a different pace. Also, Joseph trusted a dream, whereas Zechariah was awake! It’s interesting to contrast their immediate reactions with those of Mary and Elizabeth, whose humbler station in life possibly accounts for their grasp of redemption more quickly. Honestly? I identify with Zechariah…skeptical, hesitant, slower to realization. Terrified actually.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth asks, “And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary replies, “… For He has looked with favor on the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name … Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” (Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1:39-56)
The joy of these two women! Also the joy of an unborn, leaping John the Baptist in his first official act of heralding! Love, courage, mercy and justice meet here. The story of Mary’s song and their visit is found uniquely in the Gospel of Luke. Did you know Søren Kierkegaard regarded Mary as a “Knight of Faith,” just like Abraham? (See Fear and Trembling, written under Kierkegaard’s pseudonym, Johannes de Silentio)
Children imitating cormorants are even more wonderful than cormorants.
Don’t worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
Mother I never knew, every time I see the ocean, every time—
These haiku are among my favorites by Issa. Robert Hass, author of The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, & Issa, (HarperCollins, 1994) is an excellent editor and translator. Background material for each poet is so comprehensive, I’m walking and observing alongside them. Every precious moment and memory feels familiar, whether I’ve experienced them or not. It’s comforting to know not every haiku they wrote was great.
Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) “. . . has been described as a Whitman or Neruda in miniature, probably because his poems teem with creaturely life. . . His main English translator, a Scot, compares him to Robert Burns. . . And in other ways Issa’s sensibility resembles that of Charles Dickens—the humor and pathos, the sense of a childhood wound, the willingness to be silly and downright funny, and the fierceness about injustice.”
Neotropic cormorants by Alan D. Wilson @ Nature’s Pics Online