It came time for Mary’s walk to end. On most days of the week she would return to the house to help her mother with daily tasks. But today was Sabbath, the day of rest. No work would be done. She and her family would gather with the other villagers in synagogue.
Her town was too poor to have a building for its synagogue meetings, so they would be held outside. Men, women, and children gathered to pray and to sing and to hear readings from the Torah and the prophets. Leadership was provided by some of the men, including her father. But everyone joined in the songs and the prayers. And while the gathering began with some degree of formality and order, it would eventually transition to free-wheeling conversation in which anyone could take part. During this time, people would talk about what was happening in their lives, share hopes and fears, and comment on the Biblical passages they had heard that day. Mary was fascinated with the conversations about Scripture, and actively took part in them. She asked insightful questions, and imagined new ways to tell the old stories.
Lord, fill with us with wonder and delight in the stories of your love. Amen.